We’re not quite a the point where this calls for full-page congratulatory buyouts in Variety, but 100 episodes is still a milestone. Sure, it’s not the TV syndication gravy train that lets Friends and Seinfeld stars collect ski chalets, but in the web world, it means you’re doing something right.
Momversation hit the vaunted 100th episode maker this week, and the A-list mommyblogger show continues to draw audiences not just as viewers but as active participants. Santa Monica-based DECA, the digital studio that created the web series, says this frequent community chatter was by design.
Shortly after it launched back last November, DECA was able to land retailer Target as an exclusive sponsor for the property, convincing them that their remote assembling of mommybloggers would bring together quite the audience of wired 25-45 year-old moms.
From a production standpoint, the series is quite the undertaking. Having witnessed the success of Daphne Brogdon’s Cool Mom series, the DECA folks decided to cast what are essentially the stars of the online world of mommies, a dozen popular bloggers from all over the country, most of whom had no experience on camera, but large audience and strong voices. The challenge became how to shoot the episodes (three per week), with their cast, including Cool Mom’s Brogdon, scattered all over the country. The solution meant sending out production kits to the 12 co-hosts to record themselves for each episode before sending the raw footage back to DECA for editing and mixing.
I caught up with DECA CEO Michael Wayne and Momversation producer Rob Morhaim (GM at DECA) to talk about the ambitious series and where it goes from here. What’s interesting despite the episode count, they actually don’t like to call Momversation a web series, preferring to call it an online ‘brand’ which uses the video content as a starting point for discussion.
“When we look at an episode of Momversation it isn’t an end itself, but a means to an end, a pebble in a pond,” said Wayne. “Getting people talking and commenting around a topic.”
“I’m also a dad of two kids and I see how my wife talks to her friends, and I really just try to replicate that in the discussion that these famous bloggers have,” said Morhaim. “They are topics not just about moms and mothering but about women. It’s surprising how many single women are watching and come to the site every day.”
As for extensions of the show, err brand, the two said that they’ve considered different ways to build out the ancillary avenues. “We’ll be exploring everything that makes sense,” noted Wayne. “It’s fair to say that I would love to see a book or TV product around Momversation. I’d also love to see the women get together in a live event.”
Momversation was going to be an honest take on motherhood. Which is why mommyblogs are popular in the first place. They were going to send us a camera and they were going to edit it in such a way that they weren’t going to be putting words in our mouths. When I saw the first episode, I knew I had made the right decision.
Armstong is joined by other well-read bloggers like Rebecca Woolf, Asha Dornfest of ParentHacks.com, Giyen Kim of BaconIsMyEnemy.com and Alice Bradley of Finslippy. They also seem to score a not-too-shabby group of guest panelists—like Access Hollywood’s Nancy O’Dell and US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) (in an upcoming episode).
DECA’s other online properties like Smosh, BoingBoing Video, Good Bite and Streamy-winner Project Lore, follow a similar model to Momversation. The approach seems to be that instead of building out a single-branded online network, like Revision3 (Diggnation, TekZilla) or Crackle (Angel of Death, Star-ving), the company works to grow strong individual brands around each property. So far, the approach is working, landing major brands like Target, Carl’s Jr.