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New Futurescape Online TV Research: Stars and Brands Embrace Creative and Commercial Opportunities in Web TV Series

Stars making online TV shows are taking Web TV mainstream, says a report from digital entertainment research company Futurescape. The report identifies three major trends in Web TV. 1) More stars are launching Web shows, with major sponsors. 2) Sound business models include: digital download sales; brand sponsorship; Web site commissions; reaching TV viewers via games consoles; promoting commercial interests. 3) Web shows will break out across the whole entertainment sector.

London, United Kingdom, September 18, 2009 --( Stars appearing in and making their own online TV shows are rapidly taking Web TV mainstream, according to a new report from digital entertainment research company Futurescape

Futurescape, which researches the latest developments in the dynamic Web TV sector to provide in-depth analysis of new Internet TV series, business models, sponsorship and audience interactivity, today publishes the second edition of its report The Birth Of Online TV.

The report identifies three major trends in original online TV series.

Trend 1: Increasing numbers of famous actors, producers and directors are launching Internet TV series, with blue chip sponsors
Futurescape co-founder Özlem Tunçil said, “Web TV offers a new, more interactive medium for stars to reach fans. Futurescape’s reports explain the commercial models in online TV series and provide crucial insights for producers, actors, agencies, brands and broadcasters to seize the initiative.”
Actors, producers and directors with Internet TV productions include:
Keanu Reeves stars in Spärhusen, a musical comedy about a fictitious Abba-style Swedish Seventies rock band.
Candace Bushnell (Sex and the City creator) has premiered her business comedy The Broadroom, sponsored by Maybelline.
Hilary Duff (Lizzie McGuire) has debuted her YouTube series The Chase, featuring her fashion collection, Femme for DKNY Jeans.
Lisa Kudrow (Friends) co-created and stars in comedy Web Therapy, sponsored by Toyota’s Lexus.
Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator) produced superhero musical Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, profitable from iTunes video downloads.
Felicia Day (Buffy actor) co-created and stars in Microsoft-sponsored online gamer comedy The Guild: a song from it hit no.1 on iTunes music video downloads.
Ashton Kutcher (Punk’d) launched reality series KatalystHQ, sponsored by Nestle Hot Pockets.
Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) stars in reality series The Miley and Mandy Show.
Director Bryan Singer (X-Men) is working on a scifi Web series.
Director Ridley Scott (Gladiator) is backing scifi production Purefold.

Trend 2: Sound business models and commercial opportunities are emerging
The maturing Web show market offers actors and producers proven ways to benefit commercially as well as creatively. Major advertisers increasingly appreciate how Web series can enhance a brand’s image and connect it with specific demographics or online communities.
Digital download sales: Buffy creator Joss Whedon self-funded superhero musical Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog with a $200,000 budget. The production has been distributed online via video aggregator Hulu, with advertising, and as a paid-for download via Apple’s iTunes, before its DVD release. Whedon says the show became profitable from downloads alone.
Major brand sponsorship: Many series are fully-funded by international brands. Lisa Kudrow’s comedy Web Therapy is backed by Toyota’s Lexus. Maybelline sponsors Candace Bushnell’s comedy The Broadroom.
Southern Comfort dropped television advertising for digital, with branded entertainment Web series on men’s site Break and video comedy site My Damn Channel. Levi’s also funds comedies on Break.
Cross-promoting commercial interests: Hilary Duff’s series The Chase features her fashion collection, Femme for DKNY Jeans.

Trend 3: Web shows will break out across the entertainment sector generally
The Guild also demonstrates how a Web series can successfully break through into other forms of entertainment. To promote the show’s third season, the producers created a music video with an original song, Do You Wanna Date My Avatar, uploaded it on YouTube and invited fans to buy the song as iTunes and Amazon downloads.
Without a conventional marketing campaign or record label, the song gatecrashed the music download charts, going to no. 1 on Amazon MP3 downloads and no.1 on iTunes music video downloads, overtaking acts such as Black Eyed Peas. Keanu Reeves comedy Spärhusen will release a whole album by its fictional band.

Futurescape co-founder Colin Donald said, “Creating your own Web series gives an actor, producer or director a springboard to take the intellectual property, such as characters and storylines, across many forms of entertainment, from music to games to books.”


Notes to Editors
The Birth Of Online TV, Futurescape’s research report on the American and British Internet TV production business, is published in its second edition. It first appeared in May 2008. The report is 100 pages and can be ordered online at

About Futurescape
Futurescape identifies and analyzes the latest online television trends for entertainment industry leaders worldwide for insights on how to integrate Web TV into business strategy.

Futurescape Reports
- The Birth Of Online TV – The first research report on original Web TV shows
- UK Web Shows Now – Cutting-edge Internet TV productions, innovative formats
- WeVision – How Web shows succeed by engaging online communities

Our Buyers
Futurescape’s research is bought by global advertising and media agencies, TV broadcasters and producers, cable, satellite and mobile operators, media owners, publishers, industry analysts and government agencies: AT&T, BBC Worldwide, Digitas, Disney, Eutelsat, HBO, ITV, MediaCom, Ogilvy, Publicis, UBS, Virgin Media, Warner Bros.

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Contact Information
Colin Donald
44 (0)20 7193 8295

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