We attended the AFI Digifest yesterday, where HBOlab gave us a preview of their season finale cliffhanger of Hooking Up. I smell second season. A few hints: Meg (Jessica Rose) may be facing a big break-up, but she’s not going to end up lonely.
If you’ve been deeply following the show (i.e. you’re friends with Hooking Up on Facebook or better yet the show’s own social network: Baskbook) you know about the character of Dylan’s hidden plot line, or in TV-speak, the show’s b-story. Dylan met Meg at freshman orientation, they hooked up, and he’s been trying to get her attention every since. If there is a second season of Hooking Up it’s safe to say Dyan’s day is coming.
But perhaps the bigger question is, has Hooking Up been a successful experiment? It’s safe to say that so far HBOlab has ventured into the land of web television somewhat cautiously. Speaking at Digifest, HBOlab Director Danila Koverman says the name Runaway Box was created so that HBOlab could experiment, and “fly under the radar.” Hooking Up is the first show out of HBOlab show to get more heavily branded as HBO.
Additionally, to differentiate the show from other college themed web series, HBO brought together web celebs like Jessica Rose (lonelygirl15), KevJumba, Sxephil, DaveDays, Nalts and Michael Buckley, highly touting the millions of views they had garnered on the web in a trailer advertising the show.
It’s hard not to critically compare view numbers, when Hooking Up’s trailer so heavily played up its stars views. But for such a venerable who’s who line-up of clickable personalities, realistically, Hooking Up is not yet competing with its own stars when it comes to views. Granted, Hooking Up went live October 1st, and most of these personalities have had a presence online for a few years. Nonetheless, Kevjumba’s “The Next Big Music Artist” video which has been up for a month or so, has over a million views while Hooking Up‘s most recent episode (which heavily features Kevjumba) is nearing just 80,000 views. Subscriber numbers don’t yet stack up either. Kevjumba’s channel has over 335,000 YouTube subscribers while Hooking Up has around 47,000. Overall, the series is nearing the 2 Million views mark, which isn’t shabby for a little over a month.
Only time will tell if HBOlab can compete truly compete with the YouTube players they have recruited and touted. So far, given the drop-off in views from Episode 1 (750k) to Episode 2 (254k) and subesquent eps, it looks like the initial buzz might be wearing off.