Word of mouth? Google ads? Posters? How does an online video series attract an audience — especially when there’s so much competition for eyeballs?
One question that any online video series has to deal with is how to attract viewers. Lacking the promotional advantages of television, online video programs need to work harder to make themselves known. A panel at the recent Streaming Media East conference in New York offered expert advice on audience-building.
“‘Anyone but Me’ is a scripted drama about young people — gay, straight, and multiethnic — searching for identity and relationships,” explained Susan Miller, executive producer and writer for the series. “My background in traditional media — film and television and as a playwright — I’m moved towards telling stories through characters.”
Adept at turning minuses into positives, Miller explained how having a cast of unknowns is actually a plus for a series, since it allows the audience to discover the characters fresh.
“That qualities that we were looking for were relating to people, engaging people. First of all, you didn’t know the actors; we had all newcomers, and so the sense of discovery of these people and making them one’s own for the audience was a very big factor in the success and of people wanting to tune back in,” said Miller. “But also, the quality of telling stories to audiences that were maybe underserved, as it turned out — young people, particularly. In a sense, you could say that we partly derived from that, even though our model of drama has been around in theater and film and television for ages. Yet, the fact that this is on the internet, the fact that this gives us a different kind of canvas and new territory I think changes the landscape of how we do it.”
For the full panel discussion, including advice from other online video insiders, watch the full video below.