Freemium Web Series Model

Interesting article from Tubefilter on Kevin Rose's (from Diggnation) new show Foundation. He's doing a "freemium" model, which I am becoming more and more a fan of - although it has rarely been used successfully.

Here's a link to the article:

I'm currently in a Twitter discussion with Marc Hustvedt (the author of the piece) and several other folks debating the merits of the model.

I personally think it's a great way to go for producers. You offer the content for free to everyone (eventually), but to those willing to pay they get the show earlier or perhaps in HD or with "extras", etc. So really you're providing the best of both worlds.

The main thing though - and this is the thrust of our Twitter debate - is you really need to have a built in audience or an existing fan base to make this work. A brand new show by unknown folks likely won't work on the pay side of things. But then again, it couldn't hurt either since you're still offering it for free too.

Look for more of this model in the future, especially from those of us who think rev share is pretty much a joke (even with Blip's good CPMs).


2 comments to "Freemium Web Series Model"

  • In todays world you really need to think more in terms of how much you are willing to pay viewers than charge them (think in terms of customer acquisition in the dot com era).. There is just so much content out there.

    Now if you have something really really really special, perhaps you can charge. But those will be the exception rather than the rule.

    Now this is not what content producers want to hear but it is the reality of the market place. The mass market is fragmenting over and over and as it does traditional models will break down.

    Now you still have to pay for your show. Clearly that is an issue. But a good show on the internet takes you much closer to your audience than TV ever has. That is the key: engage, not charge in other words. A fully engaged audience is worth something.

  • You're point about market saturation is very valid, however, I'd argue it's saturated in mostly crap. Of course this is a subjective statement, but overall most shows I see (including on network studio sites) pretty much suck (this is changing though).

    What I'm suggesting is likely for established content creators/show runners - at least for it to be potentially profitable. And besides, the shows will still be FREE in the end (thus the Freemium model), you're just (hopefully) getting some of your True Fans to pay for premium or early (or however it's delivered) content with no ad overlays, no pre-rolls, etc.

    I think it can work with the right shows/people.

Who Am I?

I'm a filmmaker who's produced & directed five feature films including the comedy SPILT MILK (available on iTunes), the new horror/thriller PHOBIA (on iTunes) and the action/thiller KILLING DOWN (which you can buy or rent at pretty much all the usual places).

I also created the Streamy and Webby award-winning web series PINK, which to date has been viewed online around 10 MILLION times at places like YouTube, Hulu, Koldcast and And speaking of, I also produced and directed an online thriller for them called EXPOSED. It was released summer 2010. And most recently I created a new online sci-fi series called CONTINUUM, which is part of the online indie TV network - Just The Story and NOW available via VOD through indie platform Distrify.

Oh, and I don't shoot weddings. Thanks for asking though.

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