When we first covered StrikeTV, the WGA writer-founded web portal for professionally written web series, they were in full gear for an “early August” launch date. Now, in the final week of September, the site is still not open to the public, despite being functionally ready with select users being part of their private beta. Word is they are trying to figure out how to make some money off the stockpile of well-produced, celebrity-laden content they have built up.
Apparently, from what we’re hearing, they have delayed launching until they have secured advertisers for each of the shows. In a change of strategy from their initial idea to exclusively host the content on the StrikeTV site, now they will be distributing on multiple video hosts and platforms. They will however, be selling premium ad space on Strike.TV site. Word from the StrikeTV camp is that “mid-October” is the best guess for launch.
I think letting the shows out there is a much smarter move. The value of exclusivity in the web video world is debatable at best, with most of such deals now favoring short exclusivity windows on major portals in exchange for some decent amount of compensation. Savvy independent producers, and even a number of corporates, are opting to strategically distribute their shows out there with services like TubeMogul, which allows one central command center for rapid deployment. The idea being of course, that the audience is already out there, don’t make them come to you – let your content go where they already are.
The move to snag ad deals before the shows are old news is also probably the right move since Strike.TV and all of the show creators will be donating profits for the first three months from ad revenue to the The Actor’s Fund Entertainment Program. This bodes well for the ambitous young site’s longevity plan, as they face a highly competitive web video landscape much more developed than even 10 months ago when the project was hatched during the 100-day WGA Writer’s strike. Building a video portal from scratch and maintaining audience after the initial buzz is something even the Will Ferrell-backed Funny or Die knows all too well.