A few months back, After Judgment, the post-apocalyptic indie thriller web series from Captain Films launched with an ambitious multi-narrative format that meant running two separate web series simultaneously—After Judgment and its prequel series Before Judgment. It’s hard enough building an audience from scratch and getting people to notice one web series, let alone two. But people did notice, or perhaps the right people noticed.
Irvine, CA-based broadband television network KoldCast TV signed After Judgment to a revenue-sharing distribution deal and relaunched the series this week on its site, bringing its full marketing resources to bear to promote the series. Known for distributing such shows as Poor Paul and The Midwest Teen Sex Show, KoldCast has been aggressively building up its stable of quality web series, including a number of the new series from writers-portal Strike.TV. There’s also a soon-to-be announced distribution partnership with Tivo, which will bring KoldCast TV’s web series to TiVo’s 4 million subscribers (more on this coming).
For the re-release, the series is starting back with Episode 1 and 2 which are now up on KoldCast TV. From there, Episodes 3 – 8 will be released one at a time on each successive Tuesday and Thursday, through December 23rd. Beginning on January 6th Episode 9 will debut in sync with the other video partners, like YouTube and Metacafe along with the After Judgment site itself.
Producer Taryn O’Neill, who’s also one of stars in the series, raved about the chance to have KoldCast teaming up and putting its marketing muscle behind the show. “This is a really great opportunity for us,” she told us, “any time you find a distributor who is really passionate about your project it’s terrific.” That, and the audience numbers also helped seal the deal for O’Neill and her team at Captain. With some 400k monthly viewers of The Midwest Teen Sex Show, the idea of cross-promoting with some established web series certainly piqued their interest.
KoldCast CEO David Samuels told us, “[we] will be conducting banner ad campaigns and a variety of other marketing activities on behalf of After Judgment, at our own expense, to further introduce AJ to prospective viewers.” Apparently, since right before Thanksgiving they have removed all Google-served banner ads from the video network site and replaced them with banners to promote other KoldCast series. (See the After Judgement banner below.)
Samuels added, “The number one and two complaints among content providers that reach out to KoldCast are (1) lack of attention by their distribution partner, and (2) poor discoverability of their content.” In effect, it appears KoldCast is taking the hands-on approach to cross-pollination, something that fellow distributors like Revision3 and NextNewNetworks have found success with.
I asked O’Neill what she would consider a success for the series out of this deal in terms of viewership, though it seems that wasn’t her primary focus for the partnership. “I’m not really thinking about a number—this is a test to see what it’s like to have your show professionally promoted with a a site that has an established audience behind it.” She adds that she has her sights set on growing the fanbase over time and bringing on a lead sponsor for Season 2. The second season has been written, director Mike Davies tells us, but at this point they will hold off production until the right deal is in place.
In a matter of months, O’Neill has become an active part of the thriving Hollywood Web Television community, making the transition from actor-model to actor-model-creator-producer and like many of the newly converted, learning much of it on the fly. “We love the digital web world, and in many ways more than traditional Hollywood.” O’Neill said. She now has an active Twitter account and regularly attends industry events like the Hollywood Web Television Meetup, which she relates to a form of “digital college.”
I wanted to know what words of wisdom she would have for those just starting out. “Find out what you’re good at, like Felicia [Day] did, and surround yourself with like minded passionate people who are in it for the long haul and not for instantaneous gratification,” she advised. She says she learned to have confidence in her work, without needing approval before relentlessly getting behind it. “You don’t need permission to go out and ask for something and you don’t have to have an agent to get a deal.”