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Will Web Shows Ring the Death Knell for TV Programs?

By Rakesh Raman

In the emerging era of tech gadgets and gizmos, traditional machines are fast being sidelined. Your TV is also facing the same threat, as more and more entertainment shows are going straight to the Net bypassing the idiot box.

Unlike TV’s limited reach, the new generation of entertainment programs leverage Web’s extended range all across the world to distribute their content. Recently, a number of top players have come in the race with their Web shows to woo international audiences.

AOL and Vuguru, for example, have planned to release a new Web Series: Fetching. Vuguru, an independent studio founded by Michael Eisner finances story-driven content for digital and emerging platforms.

The companies announced Tuesday the premiere of a new dramedy about a woman who restarts her life and follows her true passion of entrepreneurship.

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Written by “Sex and the City’s” Amy Harris, Fetching is set against the backdrop of New York City and stars Liza—a young woman who quit her job as a lawyer and ended her engagement in the same week—in hopes of pursuing her dreams of opening her own business, a doggy daycare store called “Fetching.”

To celebrate International Take Your Dog to Work Day, the series premieres on AOL On Relationships beginning on June 18, 2012. A total of fifteen episodes will air weekly. AOL gave more than 450 brand advertisers, marketers, agencies, digital and TV media buyers a sneak peek of the new series at its Digital Content NewFront Tuesday in New York City.

Earlier, Myspace announced ‘Let’s Big Happy’, a new scripted web series from Fox Digital Entertainment. (Read: Myspace Goes Happy with Let’s Big Happy)

Also, the “Off Book” Web-only short films train a lens on artists working in alternative and often interactive media, as well as on the collective creative movements drawn together through the power of the Internet.

Created by New York-based production company Kornhaber Brown, the 13-part, bi-weekly series explores the ever-changing definition of art in the hands of the next generation of artists and their audiences. (Read: PBS Second Season of Arts Web Series Off Book)

[ Also Read: TV to Consumer: Look, I’m Changing Now ]

On the same lines, “Remake America,” an original Yahoo! series in collaboration with independent production company Trium, aims to spark a national conversation among Yahoo!’s audience (claimed to be over 170 million users in the United States) around the issues American families face every day. (Read: How to Remake America with Yahoo! News)

Another example: Viki, an international video site where TV shows and movies are translated into dozens of languages by a community of avid fans, announced the worldwide premiere of Leiji Matsumoto’s OZMA, a new 6-part series by the Manga writer.

The series was first broadcast last month on Japanese satellite broadcast provider WOWOW Prime. Then 24 hours after the broadcast, it debuted on Viki.com, where fans from more than 200 countries (excluding Japan) were able to view the show for the first time. (Read: Anime Series OZMA to be Released on Viki)

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While some companies like AOL, Yahoo!, and Viki have their own Websites to run Web shows, others are using the video social networks like YouTube for their programs.

For example, TRESemmé, a styling brand in the US, announced its latest fashion program – TRESemmé Style Setters. The original and multi-phase digital series featuring Twilight star Nikki Reed premieres on the dedicated TRESemmé YouTube channel. (Read: Fashion Series on YouTube with Actress Nikki Reed)

As Web’s dominance is increasing in the entertainment markets, a seismic shift is imminent. The new media wave is ready to shuffle the deck for market players. Traditional players, who couldn’t keep pace with the changing times, will find it difficult to survive. Those who have the right mix of technology and content will emerge at the top. Keep watching.

By Rakesh Raman, the managing editor of RMN Digital.

Read More Raman Media Network (RMN) Reports on Global Tech Trends

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