Harnessing Fans

Loyal fans are key to launching new content on the internet. The web is a very crowded and cluttered marketplace to capture people’s attention.

Riese, a sci fi web series is a great case study of how one group managed to find eyeballs for their content. Riese is a science fiction-fantasy series about Riese, a wanderer, who flees across the wartorn lands of Eleysia with her wolf, Fenrir battling religious assassins that have been sent to kill her.

In talking with Kaleena Kiff, one of the co-creators of the Riese, she said that their goal was to get the fans first. They went to Comic-Con in 2009 when they were in pre-production. They had three cast who were known in the the sci fi world, so they had recognizable names for the conference fans. The creators and producers hit the streets passing out 60,000 pieces of promotional materials. They had 2 kinds of buttons. Buttons are a big favourite with the over 250,000 participants at Comic-Con. The buttons had the web address and they also had small propaganda comicbooks to give out.

When the participants went home from Comic-Con, Riese‘s website had their photo shoot pictures and each week released more information on the series – behind the scenes with the production crew or cast.

Ryan Copple, the other co-creator constantly engaged with the fans in forums and chat rooms. By the time Riese aired in November with 5 episodes, over 9,000 fans on Facebook were following them.

The fans comments were incorporated into the shooting of the next 5 episodes and again that brought more fans to their site. That got the attention of a gaming company.

Riese was picked up by ContentFilms and now airs everywhere in the world. Because the creators raised the financing from private investors, they held on to their IP and have been able to do book deals, games and reap the revenues from selling it internationally. A very different business model from network TV.

If you’re in Vancouver, you can hear more from Kaleena at UBC Digital Media for Entertainment. She will be joined by Sean Embury, Siobhan McCarthy and Rochelle Grayson. It’s a 4 evening seminar series; 6:30 – 9:30pm, May 30 – June 2.

If interested in attending Digital Media for Entertainment (FA426S11A) use “MRBLOG1420” promo code for a 10% discount!

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