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A webisode is an episode that is distributed as part of Web television and is available for online viewing. The format is available for online streaming as well as downloads and may or may not have been aired in a television broadcast. Webisodes are often short, scripted and experimental in nature. As they are cheap to produce and capable of wide distribution, webisodes are commonly used in promotions, commercials, collections of shorts or as previews.
Webisodes are part of the branded entertainment trend in which consumers are slowly moving to social Web from traditional media. Some websites are dedicated entirely to webisodes. There is no established standard for webisodes. Most of them are short in length compared to traditional episodes in television media. Although they share some of the properties from their media parents, they bring in a new technology and opportunity in the combination of Web and traditional media. It can thus provide unique and distinctive content to users. Webisodes make use of multiple interactive functions to encourage communication between consumers and content producers. As far as revenue streams for webisodes are concerned, the dominant ones are retailing or e-commerce as well advertising-supported webisodes.
Compared to traditional media broadcasting, webisodes are largely unregulated and mostly serve younger media consumers. They are cheap to produce and capable of wide distribution. With improvements in streaming technology, audiences find them easy to view and entertaining. They also bring in personalization and interactivity, and can serve niche audiences.
As webisodes do not provide ways to catch earlier content or episodes or entice the audience to continue watching, the webisode industry sometimes finds it difficult to maintain stable viewership. Webisodes are not yet proven to be profitable using traditional business models, as business strategies and formats concerning webisodes are still ambiguous.