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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Assessing the Multiple Components of Cap South

Hello again, this is Rob Raffety, creator and producer of the comedy web series Cap South.  Going into production, I viewed Cap South as an opportunity to experiment with a variety of video styles and formats.  I thought such an approach might add to the novelty of the project and fuel viewer interest.  Now that the show is over, it's time to assess the results.

Generally speaking, my motives for producing each of these types of content were as follows:
1) Episodes: the primary narrative storytelling device;
2) Phone Call Mash-Ups: supplemental information about the characters' lives & obstacles they face;
3) Voice-Mails: crowd-sourced content to give fans a voice in the show;
4) Attack Ads: spin-off content related to the narrative and referred to in character dialogue occasionally.

The episodes usually ran between 6-8 minutes in length, and the other content was intentionally much shorter (between 0:30 - 3:00).  My thinking was that some of the short-form content had the potential to "go viral," so it would need to be entertaining independent of the viewer's knowledge of the show.

Now that Season One is over, I'm in the process of assessing the successes and failures of each format.  While I'm generally pleased with how the project turned out as a whole, I want to learn from the recent production and incorporate lessons into future productions.

Judging simply by views, the episodes were far and away the most popular component of Cap South.  Collectively, as of Sept. 2013, each component has garnered the following traffic:
1) Episodes: ~13K (~1.2K avg. per video)
2) Mash-Ups: ~4K (~350 avg. per video)
3) Voice-Mails: ~1K (~200 avg. per video)
4) Attack Ads: ~2K  (~180 avg. per video)

When I look at the numbers like this, I realize that the ancillary content (short-form videos) isn't anywhere close to the episodes.  In fact, over the past few months of casual conversations with friends, it seems as though many viewers weren't even aware that the ancillary content even existed!

At this point, my main takeaway is that I can probably drop some of these ancillary videos in future productions and focus instead on making the episodes as great as they can be.  But I still need to dig into the analytics a bit deeper before I make that decision.  An alternative to pulling the plug on the short-form content in the future is trying to do a better job of tying it directly into the story of the show.  Maybe I could add pop-up links to ancillary content in the episodes to make sure that viewers are aware these other videos exist.

I'm still sorting out my options for Season Two.  In the mean time, I'd enjoy hearing any constructive feedback on any of the elements of my project - from the standpoint of WST readers, what "works" and what doesn't?  Are there other web series that integrate different types of short-form content with greater success?  Does anyone else have experience from their own project?  I'm all ears!  -RR


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