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Web series production in Ontario on the rise: report

Study on digital production was presented at the inaugural TO WebFest conference held this past weekend.
May 12, 2014

While web series production in Ontario is increasing overall, producers are still facing significant barriers when it comes to financing their projects, according to a report from the Independent Web Series Creators of Canada and Nordicity.

Web series production in Ontario hit about $3.14 million in 2013, the report found, which compiled the survey responses from 83 web series creators. In addition, over half of the respondents reported they saw their volume of production go up by about 50% between 2012 to 2013. The report was presented ahead of its formal release at the inaugural TO WebFest, held in Toronto on May 9 to 11. The report was supported by the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

The report found that about 34% of web series creators use crowdfunding to finance at least part of the production of their web series, with many creators working other jobs to help support their web series projects.

“What is really positive is that there is a lot more production happening now than there was a couple of years ago,”  said Kristian Roberts, senior manager at Nordicity, as he presented the report.

Financing, however, continues to be a significant barrier to web series production. The report found that about 34% of web series creators use crowdfunding to finance at least part of the production of their web series, with many creators working other jobs to help support their web series projects. The report also found that YouTube was the most popular distribution platform used by web series creators.

Facebook and Twitter are the two most popular tools web series creators used to market their shows, the report found. Still, the social media marketing approach was followed closely by the most traditional way to build buzz about a show — word of mouth.

“It really again contributes to our impression that niche audiences and tapping into these communities of interest is key to the success of web series,” said Julie Whelan, manager with Nordicity.

The importance of audience engagement to the success of web series is a message that was repeated in a panel on branding opportunities.

Image: Screengrab of Video promoting the TO Web Fest featuring Rob Mills, president of the Independent Web Series Creators of Canada

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the report from the Independent Web Series Creators of Canada and Nordicity looked at web series production from across Canada. The report and its results reflected web series producers and production based in Ontario. Playback regrets the error. 

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