Hundreds, if not thousands, of web series are created every year, most of which will fail to find a significant audience. Yet every day, new platforms are sprouting up while existing ones struggle to satiate their ravenous appetite for new material. The missing factor that often determines the success or failure of those platforms is quality. At least that’s the theory that Frostbite Pictures is operating under.
Led by its CEO Ivan Hayden and COO (Chief Operating Officer) Jason Fischer (both executive producers of its popular series AFTER and DIVINE: THE SERIES), Frostbite Pictures has emerged as one of the industry’s pioneering creators of original content for new media including the web and through mobile devices.
Its mission is threefold: to be a destination for outstanding quality original episodic content, to provide opportunities for and to nurture new and emerging creative talent, and for them to monetize that content through an innovative business model unlike any in the industry through systems that transcend the traditional subscription-based and ad supported models.
“Frostbite feels there are plenty of ways in the digital world to make money from a film, (and) it no longer has to be off the film itself,” says Hayden. “Essentially we aim to partner with our industry to help it develop, and will find our profits in future options, realized once the “new media” industry is established and paying for itself.”
Those future options include partnering up with new and developing businesses to achieve greater profits through Frostbite’s high quality original video content. As Hayden explains, those profits will pay off over the long term. “There are new start ups, new platforms, new businesses out there that will need quantities of content at a minimum quality level. These start ups will not have the cash flow to deal with Hollywood expenses, residuals, and pay outs for quantity they will need to keep people on their sites or using their services or buying their product. As long as Frostbite covers its expenses, (and) our crews get paid fair and reasonable salaries, that is all that has to be paid for our content at this point. This means cheaper prices for our content.”
The company also has a substantial social media outreach through its Facebook and Twitter pages, and so do most of its original series. While most of Frostbite’s series aren’t publicly available online, DIVINE: THE SERIES can be viewed at both its official web site and Youtube page. (See links for all below).
An outgrowth of MapleBlood Productions (producers of DIVINE: THE SERIES), Frostbite Pictures (formerly known as Frostbite Digital Media, Inc.) came to prominence as a production company in 2012 and has quickly gained a reputation for being one of the web’s most prolific producers of original scripted content.
With acclaimed, award-winning shows like the supernatural thrillers AFTER, DIVINE: THE SERIES and AETURNUS, plus dramatic fare like THE LAST FALL OF ASHES, the sci-fi sagas LAB RATS and POLARIS, and the animated comedy UNDER THE HUD, Frostbite has dedicated itself to creating high quality web series targeted towards the online and mobile markets.
“We believe that the future of entertainment will be in the online and mobile markets, and our mission is to help pioneer new media into a viable, recognizable and sustainable industry on a global scale,” says Fischer and Hayden. (More information on those shows can be found on Frostbite’s official web site; see link below).
These days, original TV series are enjoying their greatest success through both cable and network series, as well as popular streaming shows like HOUSE OF CARDS, BLUE, SUSANNA and ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK; series which have attracted big name talent like Kevin Spacey, Julia Stiles and Anna Paquin, among others. However, mainstream Hollywood continues to operate on a seemingly outdated business model that not only hampers innovation and creativity but also makes it harder to adapt to both the changing needs of audiences and constantly evolving technology.
“How could a current studio be paying $500 million for a film to sell distribution rights to theater chains or $50 million into a TV season with airing rights sold region by region and then even consider putting $1M into something to go online, globally, instantly? How can they even put a sales figure to a global consumer in terms of advertising slot values on an individual project? How could they even come up with forecasts and projections for that?” Hayden asks.
Another unwelcome trend has been the epidemic of illegal downloading (piracy) of copyrighted content through torrents and file sharing, thus creating a sense of unwillingness many people feel when it comes to paying for content like movies, TV shows and DVDs. Along with that, major studios are either using new, untested methods that fly in the face of their conventional wisdom towards profits, or applying the same old tried and true monetization techniques (subscription fees, geo-blocking of content by country, TV style spots created for the web) to an industry that changes almost by the day. “The online world is not a region. Video goes viral around the world. Geo-blocking will not sustain itself because people will not tolerate it in the long run,” adds Hayden.
Frostbite Pictures aims to change that through not just its content but especially its business model and its emphasis on spotlighting new and emerging web series and their creators. “There was a time the film business was run by film makers. Frostbite is a resurrection of this. Because, for new media products, we are sourcing emerging talent, we are not looking at ‘insert big name’ writer, with “insert proven genre” with ‘insert big name actor’ for a successful product. Film makers look at good story, with good quality is their matrix for success. Success equals $ in the end,” Hayden says.
The other factor that’s contributed to the company’s success is just as important, especially when it comes to monetization through its episodic content. “Say you are a business who wants to be the -flix or -lu or -zon or any other online platform. Where would you go if you wanted to make your money from something other than subscription fees or the other current return options? You wouldn’t have the funds to cover traditional Hollywood style costs and deals. Where could you go for prime time quality original content? Frostbite Pictures is that place. We were born interactive. That means ‘transmedia’ or ‘convergent media’ as the cool kids are calling it now, is something we intimately understand. It isn’t the idea of putting a TV show in theaters or a web series on TV. We support and embrace new ideas,” adds Hayden.
As a result, the opportunities for businesses to benefit through promotion of their products/services on Frostbite’s original series are many. “The current advertising industry makes it’s money on ad sales based on the old market so they, like Hollywood, will be slow to advance toward new ideas that don’t make the same or better returns. Frostbite Pictures understands and encourages emerging needs. We can create specific content for specific goals or connect with emerging platforms in need of $ to create the quantity needed online for a wider appeal and diminished risk. All this extends into how content creation is paid for. So long as Frostbite can pay our crews a salary, cover our costs, and there some profitability in the future we are good to go,” Hayden remarks.
With web series that have already struck a chord with the viewing public and with key industry movers and shakers, Frostbite Pictures hopes to build on its incredible success, and hasn’t ruled out expanding its reach beyond the world wide web.
“We are open to all options for our series – we are storytellers, and want to share our stories with our audiences. Though we prefer the online format – as mentioned earlier, we do believe this is the future of entertainment – we also take into consideration other formats for distribution/adaptation, etc.” Hayden and Fischer say.
Frostbite is already hard at work on a slate of new projects currently in development. While the shows may change, the goals of the studio remain the same – to bring viewers outstanding episodic content that’s unlike any ever produced for the web. Says Fischer and Hayden: “As filmmakers, we all have stories to tell, of course! We will continue creating – developing new shows, continuing established shows, etc. As content creators, we see where the future of entertainment is leading, and we want to be there, at the forefront, pioneering these new formats and establishing ourselves as the studio for original filmed entertainment online.”
Yet, they say, the company’s success is due in large part to its most important asset – its people. “We all have our own inspirations that have guided us along the way, but in particular we have found ourselves inspired by our fellow filmmakers who are working hard at their own shows, pouring heart and soul into their creative endeavors,” Hayden and Fischer say.
“The web series community is a very supportive and encouraging group of people – working together and learning from each other, we can achieve our goals in establishing new media as a viable and sustainable form of entertainment.” Adds Hayden: “Our goal is to be everywhere: TV, Film, New Media, Convergent Media, any media that tells stories – we can help.”
For more information on Frostbite Pictures and its web series, plus links to their trailers, visit its web site at:
To watch all episodes of DIVINE: THE SERIES, visit:
On Facebook: www.facebook.com/FrostbitePictures
Individual Facebook show pages can be found here:
DIVINE: THE SERIES – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Divine-The-Series/115659001842854
THE LAST FALL OF ASHES: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Last-Fall-of-Ashes/240173802721205
On Twitter: @FrostbitePics