When you think of history’s most successful products and services the vast majority are centered around creating habits in their users – think television, facebook, google… cigarettes. Whether good or bad, having your audience associate your product with some specific stimulus is synonymous with having achieved wide spread success. Is there a way for creators of web series to tap into this?

On Sunday I was reading an article on TechCrunch about the process of manufacturing desire. I definitely suggest giving it a read, but the gist of the post is the idea of putting your product out there to be discovered by your target audience at the right time, rewarding them for finding it, and ultimately providing them with the means towards receiving even greater rewards. The last part is really the key, and also the most difficult. The promise of additional rewards with additional visits is what creates a habit. Once your audience is hooked they will keep returning to your product over and over completely on their own without requiring additional advertising dollars – all while manufacturing good word of mouth.

This is a huge problem for creators of web series, because a singular web series is not built to be consumed over and over again. While most creators try to generate some continued buzz by scheduling episodically or by uploading tons of special features a singular web series is incapable of producing the amount of content needed to even start thinking about becoming habit forming. I see some web series doing a decent job attempting to though, ‘The Guild’ – a show I mentioned in my last post – is consistent in updates of some form, even if they are not new episodes in the series. Most regular television shows are making an effort at consistently engaging fans through social media as well. The difficulty for web series is that creators are filmmakers making a show – not creating a distribution platform. For most, simply getting one person to watch and actively share it is a success – but these techniques are not economically viable and not an ideal way to get your name out there.

MachinimaAfter reading the inspiring article I tried to think about who was doing it right in the web series game and one company came to mind. I have been hearing an awful lot about Machinima lately through blogs and various types of word of mouth. Clearly the folks over at Machinima are working hard to get their name out there, ultimately to drive people to their youtube channel through various videos and web series. If someone likes a web series on Machinima there are other, similar series available to watch. Content is constantly being updated – the channel has become massive at this point to the level that youtube may need them far more than Machinima needs youtube.

Web series created for Machinima are instantly delivered to a huge built in audience of over 4 million subscribers who have watched over 3 billion Machinima videos. If you have not already, go watch ‘RCVR’ and tell me a filmmaker could create and distribute that as a web series on their own. The reality of that series is that Machinima has business connections and the ability to find sponsors for their content which in turn allows for significantly higher budgets.

As a small time filmmaker a simple web series may be all that you can realistically create. If that is who you are you still need to consider your distribution networks and how you are going to find your audience. A blog from Indie Intertube linked on here last week is a good start. From there consider ways to keep the audience you do find – give them a reason to come back and most of all do not ever let them forget about you. Ideally though, look for a partner in your venture – as with most things it tends to work out better if you do not go it alone.