Changing the Channel: The New Golden Age of TV was more of a casual chat than a SXSW panel. It brought moderator Andy Forssell (SVP of Content at Hulu) together with Hulu talent Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me, A Day In The Life), Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Up To Speed) and Timothy “Speed” Levitch (Up To Speed) to discuss their current projects and the future of original online programing.
After introducing the panelists and showing a sneak peak of Up To Speed and the second season of A Day in The Life, the panel touched on a number of interesting subjects.
Fossell let slip that Hulu is trying to make its original programming capable of winning major television awards. While not a complete shocker, this tidbit is further indication that premium on-demand and over the internet distribution-services-turned-studios are starting to see themselves as the new HBOs. It starts to raise some interesting questions, too. Should a web series be compared to an established television drama even if it’s the same length? How blurry is the line becoming between online content and television?
The panelists believe the same thing as the rest of us who are in the online video industry and paying attention. Bigger names entering the space will result in some growing percentage of traditional advertising dollars shifting from television and feature films towards online originals. That means more marketing dollars, too. So, expect to see strategies used by major motion pictures and television programs (e.g. billboards and bus signs) in major metropolitan areas promoting major web series.
Those shifting ad dollars and marketing tactics are just a few of the ways it will be increasingly difficult to distinguish television shows from online original programming. If a Hulu property happens to win a major television award, that could make the two mediums essentially indistinguishable, and the ripple effect could change the very definition of TV.