With buzz growing about Strike.TV‘s anticipated launch (possibly in the next few weeks), we caught up with founder Peter Hyoguchi, also a writer and director, about what’s in store for the upstart web channel.
Founded amidst the throes of the 100-day WGA writer’s strike early this year, what began as a fundraising platform for the WGA Industry Support Fund, is now gearing up as full-blown destination for professional high quality short form content.
What makes Strike.TV stand out from other original web content sites, Peter says, is that it features shows written exclusively by professional writers. Many of those writers, he says, are well known and have built-in audiences in their genre. Most notably, the writers, all of whom are WGA union members, retain the rights to their shows, with Strike.TV only licensing the shows for distribution.
Hyoguchi says they now have a cadre of close to 50 shows slated for release, spanning the genres of drama, comedy, sci-fi, horror and even family oriented content. The shows on the slate range in episodes from as few as 3 to as many as 34 episodes, with more in the works should the shows find a strong audience. To start, Strike.TV is launching with 6 shows. Released today is a sneak peak behind the scenes with Timothy Dalton and Steven de Souza of Unknown Sender.
The initial lineup:
- Unknown Sender, written and directed by Steven de Souza and starring Timothy Dalton and Joanne Whalley
- John’s Hand, starring Garret Dillahunt (No Country For Old Men) and Kali Rocha (Grey’s Anatomy)
- Global Warming, starring Kirsten Wiig (Saturday Night Live) and Aasif Mandvi (Jericho, The Daily Show)
- House Poor, created by The Office writer-producer Lester Lewis
- The Challenge, starring Bob Newhart and written by sitcom veteran Lloyd Garver (Alf, Family Ties)
- Five or Die, written and directed by horror director Tom Holland (Child’s Play, Psycho II)
Hyoguchi is excited about where TV on the web stands today, saying “the internet’s pre-Howdy Doody today,” referring to the 1947-debuted TV show which essentially spawned the advertising-supported television model that exists today. While he notes that there have been some early successes like lonelygirl15 and quarterlife, “we still haven’t haven’t see a true hit show yet,” the kind that reaches a true global scale. For a show to reach that kind of mass appeal, it’s going to come from a professional team, he notes.
Each show on the Strike.TV network will be distributed across several of the well-known video hosts (YouTube, blip.tv, Veoh), but viewers will need to head to Strike.TV for the HD quality versions hosted on the site’s proprietary video player. The site will also be the place for premium add-on content like cast and crew info, behind the scenes footage and fan interaction with show creators.
Hyoguchi says they have been working with some advertisers and agents already, who are excited about the quality of the original series. The plan is to connect show creators with direct advertising sponsorship, which will then be shared via profit participation agreements with everyone involved in each show from the writers, the actors to the grips and gaffers. It’s definitely a new model for creating content, with the talent (professional writers, directors, actors, etc.) essentially doing the shows on spec, in hopes of a nice return on the back-end should the shows become hits. The first three months of revenues will go to the Entertainment Assistance Program of the Actor’s Fund.
We’ll keep in touch with the team over at Strike.TV as they gear up for the August release. Until then, here’s the Strike.TV trailer, giving a little taste of what we can expect.