American TV producers to make new drama series to air on MySpace
Emmy award winning TV producers are set to make a new drama series to air online at MySpaceTV.
Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick, creators of My So-Called Life and Thirtysomething, are two of America’s biggest TV names to announce such an ambitious project for the web.
The show, called Quarterlife, will revolve around six creative people in their twenties, with a plot that includes an ‘overly truthful video blog’. It will consist of 36 eight-minute episodes that will debut on 11 November on MySpaceTV.com, their ever-expanding video page.
Although he won’t reveal how much, Herskovitz says the project will be the most expensive web effort to date, topping the £3 million spent on Afterworld, a web series in the US, which is also distributed in cable channels and mobile phones abroad.
‘We’ve taken 20 years of experience in making TV and said, “What is the minimum requirement to create something that doesn’t compromise in terms of quality?”‘ explains Herskovitz.
But web programmes are still a gamble. With 500,000 views, Afterworld has not been as successful as the Walt Disney-owned Prom Queen, which has pulled in 8 million views, but early YouTube showings have pulled in 1 million.
‘If you create something cheaply enough, it’s easy to make money,’ said Josh Bernoff, new-media analyst for Forrester Research. ‘But if you’re going to start putting in acting talent and professional cinematographers, it’s going to have to be pretty darn popular.’
Like Prom Queen and Afterworld, Quarterlife will first be available on MySpace, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, and then try to draw people to a website named for the series.
Without a sponsorship, the secret to a web programme’s success is advertisers, says Bernoff. The series will need at least 15,000 viewers a segment to break even.
He added: ‘What’s interesting here is the level of talent that’s being applied,’ Bernoff said. ‘The problem is, it’s easy to have a one-hit wonder. For this really to succeed, it has to be a channel you tune into on a regular basis.’