Michael Eisner’s Vuguru studio launched its latest series, “Foreign Body” on Tuesday, a big-budget series meant to help sell a new Robin Cook novel coming out this summer.
What’s different about Eisner’s latest foray into online video? A few things. First, it’s an every-day serial of 50 episodes. Most ambitious Web videos come out once a week, and the great majority follow a whenever-we-feel-like-posting-the-next-one ethos.
Second, it’s expensive — by Web standards. Eisner is spending $5,000 a minute on the series, or $10,000 per episode, compared to $3,000 per 90 minutes for the first season of “Prom Queen.” All of that is minisicule, of course, compared to the typical $70,000 to $100,000-per-minute broadcast TV budget.
Third, the series is basically branded entertainment for Bertelsmann’s Penguin: It exists to promote Robin Cook’s next book, not to recoup by selling advertising against its audience. Contrast that with MySpace, which is trying to make money from Web video, and is running a bare-bones production outfit churning out 3-minute episodes for $5,000 apiece.
The question is whether a bigger budget and better production values will translate into more viewers. While this may not mean a tremendous amount to Eisner, the rest of the industry will be watching to see how “Foreign Body” does compared to, say, “Prom Queen”‘s 15 milllion views or the 12 million that MySpace’s “Roommates” drew.
So, is “Foreign Body” that much better than low-budget Web video? Judge for yourself with the first instalment , “Boundaries of Desire”:
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