Webisodes (Web plus episodes) refers to short, online movies made for an Internet audience. Webisodes can serve many purposes, but are generally used as marketing tools. From entrepreneurs to major mainstream media, webisodes are playing a growing part in online content.
Student filmmakers are using webisodes to create libraries of 60-second shorts, particularly in the horror and animation genres. Some webisodes wind up on websites like YouTube, giving creators further exposure. Though the films are short, webisodes are the online equivalent of a clip reel, and can showcase talent very effectively, 24/7. Some online entrepreneurs are turning out episodic pieces, using a webisode for each installment.
Webisodes are also instrumental to online gaming companies promoting current games and building hype for upcoming releases. Like movie trailers, webisodes can whet the appetite of the gaming community. By creating the right advertising tool with a webisode, gamers can see what the look and feel of ‘the next great challenge’ will be before the coding is even dry.
Major television networks are using webisodes to promote flagship shows. Key scenes clipped from episodes that have already aired highlight the show’s characters and appeal. Brief webisodes makes a good fit for the presumed short attention span of the public. A clip is also more entertaining than the simple stills, graphics and text of a webpage.
The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) is making selected documentaries available online in a series of webisodes. The webisodes are named individually, similar to the way DVDs divide up a film by movie scenes for easy navigation. This allows surfers to watch all or just part(s) of a special. Webisodes also make it easy to watch a program over a period of nights when time doesn’t allow one extended viewing.
Webisodes can be a valuable tool for self-promotion and marketing. Utilized correctly, webisodes can increase website traffic and help build a solid fan base. A picture might be worth a thousand words, but a moving picture seems to be worth even more, judging by the popularity of webisodes.