Ruby Skye: Internet TV For Tweens

According to research from McKinsey that we looked at yesterday, young people are using online media significantly more than older generations. When it comes to online video consumption, the difference is particularly stark: 84% of “Digital-media junkies” (whose average age is 28) consume online video, compared to 18% of “Traditionalists” (average age 48).

With those statistics in mind, it’s interesting to look at how the entertainment industry is utilizing online media channels more and more. A great example that we came across recently is a web video series called Ruby Skye P.I., aimed at the tweens age group. It’s like a television series, only it’s made specifically for the Web and utilizes “transmedia” channels for content delivery and viewer interaction.

Ruby Skye P.I. is a detective story made up of 12 video “chapters,” each 3-6 minutes long. The videos are hosted on YouTube. Why is each episode just 3-6 minutes long? The show’s creator, Jill Golick, explained to Wired’s Geek Dad that “a 3-6 minute episode will port over to a mobile or tablet device easily. It can be a quick break between soccer and homework. Or you can sit down and watch all the episodes in a row.”

The web series was shot over 15 days in August 2010 and launched in late October. The storyline is about a Nigerian email scam, which Ruby – a 15 year old girl – sets out to solve. The main website features all 12 videos, supplementary material about Internet scamming, recipes and games. Episode one is embedded below.

Ruby Skye has a strong social media profile, including a Twitter account (1,100 followers), a Facebook Page (948 likes) and a YouTube account (17,401 channel views, close to 100,000 total video views).

The show’s creator Jill Golick said in a promotional video that this isn’t just a web series, but a “transmedia franchise.” She mentioned (a sister site which appears to be offline currently), a book series and a planned iPad app.

So has Ruby Skye P.I. been a success? Statistics from the social media accounts suggest that it hasn’t.

The web content and transmedia features are solid, if not terribly innovative. However the video production is slick and the storyline educational. Also the lead actor, Madison Cheeatow, is excellent and has a promising future.

Ruby Skye P.I. is just one example of entertainment being delivered over the Web instead of traditional TV. A second series of Ruby Skye P.I. is on the way, called “The Haunted Library.” Do you think this is a pointer to the future of Internet TV?

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