Web Series World News: Companies laying off digital video staffers

(Jonathan Hardesty) #21


It’s essentially a joint venture between Nerdist and Geek & Sundry that houses all their content with enhanced features, forums, and communities. They live-stream from the site and offer VOD the same day (on twitch you have to subscribe), and on their youtube channels you get the content a week or so later. I was hesitant at first to sign up, but after enjoying enough of the content, I gave it a try and am using it quite regularly. But I’ve had time with their free stuff and enjoyed it, and they’ve done a good job at leading me to their site.

(Bri Castellini) #22

How did you find Geek and Sundry originally?

(Jonathan Hardesty) #23

The Guild, which was free to watch on YouTube. They started with free, and still are, but they’ve put a lot of useful and fun things behind that paywall that don’t hit the “free” stage for awhile.

(Bri Castellini) #24

I think that’s the smart way to go- similar to how Patreon usually works, putting free content out there but having exclusive stuff behind pay walls. Or having everything free but offering paid subscription options if you don’t want to see ads, which has 100% worked on me before

(Jonathan Hardesty) #25

I think these bigger companies are learning that lesson the hard way in their search for the “make it huge, fast” approach. G&S have taken their time, with “free” to hook, and then money to support. As an audience member that’s been respected by this approach, I’ve found no trouble putting money down for some of the content.

(Chris Hadley) #26

I agree. It’s tough to compete with vloggers and Youtubers, not to mention content that’s been repurposed or pirated from elsewhere on Youtube. I’ve thought of setting up a Patreon page for my series, but I have yet to figure out exactly how much money I’d need or what incentives I’d like to give to potential contributors.

(Bri Castellini) #27

I think it’s more of a “having consistent stuff to share” issue. You can pick any old number and just start raising. On Patreon you don’t have to have a $$ goal in mind, especially not at first. You just need reasons for people to pay, whether that’s a regular newsletter of updates, exclusive behind the scenes content, early access to new episodes or videos, and more

(Bri Castellini) #28

Like I bet @HackettKate can attest to this better than most, but Patreon is a full time job that unlike a normal crowdfunding campaign doesn’t end after 30-45 days.

(Chris Hadley) #29

Coming up with those exact reasons is the tricky part…

(Lessa Smith) #30

But if ur a business u have to make $$$ soon. a slow burn doesn’t work on that scale?

(Jonathan Hardesty) #31

Perhaps that’s solved, then, by delving into video slowly and appreciating that it isn’t quite the get-rich-quick scheme they thought? I dunno. I’ve found the aggressive pivot to video weird considering how much video content actually costs versus how free it has to be for a long time. I guess ads help with that some, but I wonder if the data on the profitability of digital video was not 100% accurate.

(Chris Hadley) #32

I never thought doing video would make money. It definitely costs money, to be sure, but the cost/return ratio is incredibly disparate.

(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #33

This is a side effect from what’s happening in the stock market. All time lows that I’ve been closely monitoring and the video people are always the first ones to go. It’s deja vu to me. Flashback to 10 years ago when I just graduated from college and found no companies willing to take a chance on entry level film/media candidates.

I’m not as worried about it now because:

a.) I have experience in multiple roles both above and below the line
b.) My web series although hasn’t made me money is a great portfolio tool to get an in with smaller companies
c.) Much like @Joseph_Brett mentioned a lot of the larger companies don’t understand how to make digital content appealing

I think the digital video scene is evolving and will need to find its way from the free sample phase to the paid subscription phase. How we will get there I don’t know.

(Bri Castellini) #34

I think that’s the key here- these companies realized how tantilizing and exciting digital video is but failed to account for production costs and paying people to make them, which is a very different process from employing, say, writers. Like how Cracked is pivoting back to just articles and listicles instead of video and podcast and live shows because it’s so much cheaper and easier to squeeze SEO interaction out of.

(Bri Castellini) #35

I’m just worried it’ll be harder for self-distributors to get scooped up in those subscription options. It’s all well and good for a bigger company to figure that out, but then we’re left even further in the dust.

(Chris Hadley) #36

@ghettonerdgirl @joseph_brett I wonder if the reason that those large companies fail at doing this is that they haven’t adapted to the techniques and style of doing short-form video content, nor do they have the experience and history in doing so.

(Chris Hadley) #37

@ghettonerdgirl @Joseph_Brett Or, if it’s because they spend a ton of money in doing it and they get a consistently negative ROI.

(Bri Castellini) #38

I think it’s this one. It’s very expensive to make and on a per-video basis, unless there’s a brand deal or merch associated, the ROI is lowwwww, even for millions of views

(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #39

I say a combination of both is quite possible. They no longer see the value in it.

(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #40

Yes. You are correct. I am worried too.