Part II: The 19 Revenue Sources for WebSeries Creators

The response to Part I of this series has been overwhelming. [See it here.] So, many thanks to all that have had an interest in it, and shared it via social media.

Keeping to the listing order from Part I, let’s start to discuss what each of these ‘Revenue Sources’ are, what they mean…and how they might benefit you [& me] in our Web Series endeavors.

The overall point I am making here, again, is that unlike ‘traditional’ Hollywood, you right now have almost unlimited ways to create your revenue, your success.

No one said they were easy, now or ever. But they ARE there. Use this list and this discussion to ideally help define what you want to do & how to approach it.

Let’s start from the top:

  • Ad Agency’s: If you are not in the Advertising or Media worlds, you need to first understand what an agency does, why they do it, and how to approach them based on that.Agencies work on behalf of client[s] to get the best exposure/visibility for the best value. Often they do it across multiple Media properties, with budgets in multiple millions of dollars, and you must fit into that puzzle. They also have wide perspective on all things advertising.

    So…be compelling. Present value to them. Just asking them to “fund” your series ain’t gonna cut it. Have a reason! Make your project a “safe” buy, an easy recommendation, and you raise your odds dramatically. Build in some of the other 19 options listed here, to help create that value.

    Even as I work with agencies every single day, due to brevity, we will have to skim a bit. So keep these questions in mind:

    • Are you presenting them something of value? Does it have a Social Media component?
    • Have you really “tied into” one of their client Brands? Does that mean having an Offline as well as an Online component?
    • Have you really made your project an easy one for them to recommend? How? Why? [Dig deep on this one!]

  • Ad Networks: These are the places where vast amounts of Rich Media ad banner inventory reside on the Web. Depending on the state of your project, you might either be a Seller, or a Buyer of these. [Yes, I said you might be doing either, or both. Read on!]Also, Ad Networks don’t exist only in the Banner world any longer. There are now Video, Mobile and even ‘Text Link’ networks, any or all of which might build your revenue base. More, the lines are blurring, as some of the Video Platforms we discuss further down the line can also offer “network” programs to you, along with their video server/player deals. [Some also now develop or curate ‘content’ too, if you look at Adconion/Joost/RedLever.]

    Last, you will want to ask yourself the question, ‘Who is doing the actual selling of the ad units here?’, as that dictates how much income you might receive [or the percentage of revenue you might get in a ‘Rev-Share’ deal.]

    Questions to keep in mind:

  • Does it make sense to “partner” with a network for ad inventory?
  • ~If so, did you make deals for both buying & selling? Why not?

  • Going back to, ‘Who Sold the Ad?’, what if you bring in a Sponsor/Brand? What if you need the network to add Reach [i.e. more ad units than you have] to your program?
  • My main point to the Content creators I work with: you have options, if you know about them and use them. So know about them…and then use them!

  • Affiliate Programs: These are included here, as they are a very legitimate source of revenue [when done with legit companies.] But to also be fair, this is one that only really applies when you generate high enough levels of traffic to your own site, in terms of monthly visitors.So, while less applicable on smaller levels, serious money is made here, even in the Blog world. Here is how they work:

    A 3rd-party company places an ad on your website.
    When someone clicks that ad, and buys the product from there, you get paid a percent, based on your agreement.

  • Agents: Since many in the Web Content world have exposure to Hollywood, little explanation needed here. Like most of Big Media, Big Agents have [so far] paid little attention to the Web world, since the money just isn’t there. A few have, more will.As Hollywood adapts & fights for control of the Web Content world [which they clearly don’t have as of now], this will change, and more Agents will be there to ‘sell’ your project. Same as it is now for TV, Cable, Film, it will get to be that way soon for the Web.
  • Brands: Also called ‘Clients’. These are the major companies that Ad Agency’s often represent: Nike, Procter & Gamble, L’Oreal, Ikea.As I’ve said about Hollywood, TV & Film projects really can’t approach these firms to get funding. You can. It’s been done.

    How do you do it? First, you’d do well to tie in to some element that that company cares about, as part of your ‘pitch’. Could be a brand element, a product placement, a charity they support. SOMETHING.

    Realize that these are major companies, and you are dealing here with corporate people. You may need to button-up a bit. You may also need to deal with that ad agency of theirs, at some point, to really close the deal.

    You’ll need to start with their Advertising and/or Marketing departments [or maybe even their new Social Media teams if they have one.] And understand that you may be dealing with a wide variety of understanding even as to what a Web Series is…within the same department!

  • ’Crowd’ Funding or Sourcing: Not much explanation needed here either, as many are using these already to raise funds, often for a 2nd/3rd season.Basically, these are sites that allow you to set up an ‘account’ for people to make contributions, using those funds to produce your show. The two main firms out there:
  • ~Indiegogo

    This is proving a very viable way to get ‘revenue’, though many of us now receive these ‘queries’ or requests on a fairly frequent basis on Facebook, etc. The only issue I see is a kind of short-term/long-term one; you may get the amount of money needed on the ‘lower’ end that you ask for, but are you also then limiting what you might have gotten on the ‘higher’ end had you devoted time to pursuing much bigger budgets by way of Brands [& Agencies]…?

    There is no one answer, let alone a right answer to this. But it is a crucial question that will only get more relevant in the near future, with tough choices to make for those with great content.

    We’ll continue down the ‘List of 19’ in Part III. Let me know your thoughts here.
    – – –

    Note of Gratitude: There is nothing more encouraging than having someone Re-Tweet your work to their followers, and thereby to the world [especially when its within TWO hours of it first being sent out…and on a Friday night, no less!] It’s even more encouraging when you are uncertain of the response to what you’ve just released for all to see.

    And when that person is already greatly accomplished in the community you are writing for, and a multi-Streamy Award-winner to boot, this dedication is an easy one: Many thanks, Mark Gantt.


    ~ by MindOnMediaSales on October 14, 2010.

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    7. […] should check out Ken’s 19 Revenue Sources for WebSeries Creators, Part 1, 2, & 3 on his blog. He breaks down every option afforded to content creators in a simple, […]

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    9. Thanks, Ken 🙂

      • You are very welcome, Aurora. It was coincidental [yet also maybe fateful?] that the very 2 things we were talking about for your show – AdNetworks & Crowd-Funding, are early in the alphabet…and so were included in Part II of this series, which I had posted just that afternoon [but hadn’t been released online yet at the time we were speaking.] Best of luck on ALL of your projects.

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