Just because MySpace's web show "Quarterlife" was a big flop on NBC here in the U.S., that doesn't mean that MySpace is going to stop shopping their web shows for TV syndication. While the U.S. market for web-to-TV programming may be dead, the worldwide market awaits, and, overseas, web shows might have a better chance.
Silicon Alley Insider is reporting that Rupert Murdoch's MySpace will be using daughter Elizabeth Murdoch's production company, Shine Group, to try to get web shows like "Quarterlife" and "Roommates" licensed abroad. Additionally, potential deals could involve making localized versions of the programs instead. The Shine Group is known for making similar deals for network television shows, most notably, they brought the British show "The Office" to American TV.This morning
Web-to-TV programming might actually find some success abroad - Michael Eisner just sold "Prom Queen" to international markets including France and Japan - but, currently, it's an unproved model. Usually, web programming is a complement to TV's offerings - think Big Brother's live webcam or Lost's minisodes.
Unfortunately, as great as the quality may be in some of today's web programming, the appeal of web-only shows is often limited to a narrower niche than the typical TV network is interested in marketing to. Here in the U.S. at least, the major networks are looking for shows that appeal to mainstream America because for them, it's all about number of eyeballs glued to the set.
Will the U.S. ever see web shows on their TV sets again? Probably not for sometime, at least, not via traditional TV networks. Instead, the trend seems to be moving towards getting internet content on to the TV via a media extender. Already, AppleTV, Xbox 360, and Sony Playstation are making themselves known as media hubs, and rumor has it that the Wii may be next.
This seems to be a better way of viewing web content in the living room, because you have a wider array of options to choose from and it allows the programming to stand alone as its own medium, instead of having to compete with the uber-budgets, professional acting, and high-quality production values of a typical television show.
Do you watch web shows on your TV? Let us know in the comments.