They say all’s fair in love and war. It’s a mantra that rings true to lovers worldwide, and even moreso to the millions of fans of Battlefield Friends, a hugely popular digital spoof on first-person shooter games from Machinima.
The animated series by creators Hank & Jed (Doraleous & Associates, Mob Squad) is now in its fifth season. It is among the MCN’s most-watched originals garnering, so far, more than 100 million total views.
With that kind of following, Daniel Tibbets (pictured), Machinima’s chief content officer, told StreamDaily that it only makes sense to expand the distribution opportunities over a variety of streaming platforms, beyond YouTube.
As of Aug. 13, Battlefield Friends is available for download on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vimeo and Xbox Live. Fans are able to stream or download single seasons or get the entire five-season box set on Vimeo On Demand.
Season 5 is also available on Vessel. The latest season debuted on the streaming platform in April.
Those who don’t mind waiting can now view it for free over YouTube, where the first episode dropped in early August. The remainder of the season will be released weekly.
The MCN has been experimenting with Vessel since that company launched earlier this year offering subscribers early access to exclusive content. But the decision to offer Battlefield Friends over multiple platforms is a first for Machimina.
Tibbets said, if all goes well, it won’t be the last time the company makes this same move.
“Two years ago, when you looked at digital-first projects, your choice was YouTube. That really was where the mass audience and scale was,” said Tibbets.
Now, with the success of Netflix, Vessel and other streaming platforms, content creators have more options to distribute content in ways that better cater to the different consumption habits of viewers. That, in turn, said Tibbets, can bring in more money and enable digital networks to develop and produce even more content and greenlight multiple seasons of successful franchises. (And yes, that means there is a sixth season of Battlefield Friends underway. No release date has yet been set.)
“This is really the first time we’ve gone to transaction platforms like Vimeo and iTunes, but we hope it will be the first of many,” said Tibbets.
That’s not to say Machinima is tired of YouTube, where Battlefield Friends first launched and found its core audience.
“It’s not necessarily the only platform to monetize on,” he said.
Battlefield Friends follows the (mis)adventures of Engineer, Medic and Sniper as they deal with the multiplayer warzone’s absolute worst gamer, the Noob. Tibbets praised the show’s writing and animation, noting, “It works perfectly for our gaming fan-focused audience, but it has the quality of anything you can see on TV. He said the series (which runs about three minutes per episode) could be developed into a half-hour linear show, or even a movie.
“We definitely think there is a lot of value to what else we can do with this franchise,” he said.