Short answer: AGREED!
Long answer: Whenever possible, I avoid the term ‘web series.’ Sometimes a client will insist upon qualifying whatever we’re producing as such (typically a scripted, longer-form series) and I do my best to convince them we’re better off going with ‘original series’ and here’s why: The average media consumer judges their entertainment by the platform it’s released on. They just do. I’ve always believed one of the more obvious roadblocks online programming faces in achieving mainstream awareness (and mainstream money) lies with how the mainstream perceives the web itself.
I recently asked my 64 years-young mother to email the Hulu link to the Leap Year trailer (the web series we produced for our clients, Hiscox Small Business Insurance) to 10 of her friends of similar age and introduce it as an “original series.” All 10 watched and responded favorably. Then I asked her to send the exact same link to 10 other friends of similar age, but call it a “web series.” This time, four people claimed “the link doesn’t work;” two said the “video won’t play;” one asked “what channel is this on?;” one asked “How do I find this so I know when to watch? Only two out of the second 10 watched the trailer without any questions or issues.
Not exactly a scientific study, but it made me wonder even more if placing the word “web” in front of “series” or “show,” is hurting our cause at raising the broader awareness we need to grow. Send a link promising an “original series,” it gets opened with no problem; send the same link but call it a “web series” and suddenly the same content becomes confusing and inaccessible. Just something to think about.