Canadians have been hip to making web series for years now, with some of the best indies coming out of the country up North—Tiki Bar TV, Riese, After Judgment, A Comicbook Orange all hail from Canadian creators. Appropriately, there’s a site dedicated to showcasing the country’s episodic work. Lifeforce TV launched a year ago as an online network of Canadian web series. Today they’ve rolled out what they are calling “Version 2” of the network and have three new series on the lineup. Two scripted comedies Saving Rent (above) and The Jim (see our review) are on the list, with music and film interview series Independent Scene rounding out the new slate.
Behind the site is Toronto-based Lifeforce Entertainment, which produces original web series itself like last year’s Men’s Room, Angels Local 437 and the controversial chat show Table Topics. All three of the new series have been licensed from independent creators, in a revenue sharing deals. The site uses an embedded blip.tv player rather than spin up their own custom player. While that may save costs in the short term, it ends up splitting ad revenues not only with the show creators but also blip.tv itself, cutting into already thin margins. But their main mission for now seems to be building awareness—and audience—for Canadian-made series.
“LifeforceTV was created to showcase Canadian web series that might otherwise get lost in the millions of titles on YouTube and other nonspecific video sharing sites” say J. Michael Dawson, President of Lifeforce Entertainment. “It was important for us to create at outlet where Canadian series could thrive and get the exposure they deserved. The online entertainment business is a competitive one and much like in film and television, we also need to support Canadian shows made for the Internet.”
But viewing habits of Canadians for online series still have some catching up to do with the US, according to Dawson. “Unfortunately, Canada is two to three years behind the States when it comes to uptake in widespread support of web shows,” Dawson tells us. “It’s something we’re working to change, but it’s a slow process. Our goal as a network is to enlighten brands on the various ways they can integrate their product offerings into these shows, whether it be through placements, host shout outs, or direct pre/mid/post roll ads.”
Lifeforce TV says they will continue to add new series throughout 2010, and are now accepting submissions for Canadian made web series.