In 1996, 19-year-old Jennifer Ringley installed a single webcam in her college dorm room. Every three minutes the camera took one picture and uploaded it to the web. Anyone with an internet connection who knew the URL could see Ringley’s uncensored domestic life unfold on screen. As the popularity of her website increased, Ringley installed multiple video cameras in her house, giving fans more material to watch and greater access into her personal life.
Within two years, at the height of its fame, Jennicam.com received three to four million daily viewers. Ever since, online video entrepreneurs have been trying to recreate the experience with an added twist: What if the audience could tell Jenni what to do?
The answer has come in multiple forms. Justin Kan gave viewers 24/7 interactive access to his life (and now the lives of thousands of users) through Justin.TV. Robot Chicken creator Seth Green is busy pitching potential advertisers on Urule, billed as “The Truman Show, except that Truman is a willing volunteer.” And Revision3 just announced its latest web series, Dan 3.0.
Starring Dan Brown (Rubik’s Cube Dan Brown, not Da Vinci Code Dan Brown), Dan 3.0 premieres on August 2, 2010 and ends one year later. During that time, Brown will release one episode per day. Each episode will feature whatever the audience of Dan 3.0 wants it to feature. From the press release:
Dan will solicit opinions from online fans about his daily activities, from what he will wear to his living arrangements. Audiences will vote and submit tasks for Dan to complete using a new and innovative community decision engine on Revision3.com. Users develop ideas and directly interact with each other to determine the content of the show. Dan will execute the most popular ideas on Dan 3.0.
With over 240,000 subscribers, Brown currently occupies the #40 spot on YouTube’s all-time list of most subscribed to directors. That equates to roughly 50,000 views per video released through his main YouTube channel. Not a bad built in audience with which to launch a new web show.
So, how much does talent on YouTube’s top 40 list with a guaranteed 50,000 views per episode cost a new media studio?
In 2009, Brown told reporters he made roughly $30,000 per year off his YouTube clips, but that was only when he had 47,500 subscribers. With today’s numbers, Brown is most likely raking in at least double that amount. That means, in order to make Dan 3.0 worth Brown’s while, Revision3 could be paying the 20-year-old close to six figures for a year long deal, if not more. (At least that’s my guess. Revision3 refused to comment on the financial terms of the deal.)
To get involved in Dan 3.0‘s interactive, family-friendly voyeurism, check out the show’s channel at Revision3.com.