Web Series Gain Traction Among Viewers [VIDEO]

2013 may be the year of the web series second season.

Liz Shannon Miller of Paid Content says that in past years, many web series haven’t make it past one season, either due to low budgets or bigger opportunities. But this year, four online shows, “Burning Love,” “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee,” “Squaresville,” and “Video Game High School” will be returning for a second shot.

Brands have also been tapping into the popularity of web series by making their own videos.

Josh Sternberg of DigiDay highlights campaigns from Toyota, Subway and Nissan, calling them “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

The Toyota web series featured Andrew Zimmern traveling “around Minneapolis in a Toyota Prius V visiting interesting restaurants and food establishments for a six-part series called ‘Appetite for Life.'” The episodes, which were under five minutes long, were distributed on MSN. Sternberg calls this, “one of those rare, good examples of branded episodic Web video.”

“The bad” is Subway’s “The 4 to 9ers,” which was shown on Hulu and followed the lives of teens who work at the restaurant after school lets out.

And “the ugly” is Nissan’s “Date Better with Sentra,” which aimed to “convince viewers that all the poor dating techniques the protagonist employs can be reversed if you just follow the foreign guy’s (people with accents make things better, apparently) explanations of the new Sentra.”

While they are a growing trend, branded web series have seen mixed results.

“While some brands might miss the mark, producing an incoherent story line that fails to hold viewers’ attention spans from episode to episode, most are finding web series an effective vehicle for community building and reaching new audiences through a shared medium,” says Ignite Social Media’s Lauren McCrea.

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