Lyza Rammo 333305, Elisa van der Linden 356765, Daniel van Vliet 357005, Chloe Boekaar 358299
Lonelygirl15 – the business model
For this exercise we had to look at the startup of a Transmedia Franchise or an already established Transmedia franchise and critically evaluate their business model. For our research of a Transmedia Franchise we picked the Transmedia project Lonelygirl15.
Lonelygirl15 started as a normal youtube account for the viewers. A girl told her daily stories in front of a camera and this was done weekly. However, these episodes were staged and directed by a few professional directors with the aim to get an audience and market, focused on self-expression and sincerity (Christian, 2009). This so-called lonelygirl15 was Bree, which eventually was a 19-year old actress from New Zealand. The directors tried to trick watchers into thinking it was real, however, after a while, fans begon to notice some details, which made them question the realness of the lonelygirl15 (Rushfield & Hoffman, 2006). This resulted into many discussions between fans on discussion boards.
The Lonelygirl15 franchise was an extensive transmedia franchise that started off with a YouTube account but eventually generated a website, fan wiki’s, spin off, merchandise and even an alternate reality game. From our first observations we can truly say this Transmedia Business
model was a good one. It generated a lot of views, revenue and attention on a worldwide basis. However, how did they exactly do this and can we discover a typical Trans media business model in this example?
When looking at the business model we can state that it was quite successful regarding this project lonelygirl15 with the producers raising over 3,5 million US dollars, which they further used in their software company (Wauters, 2011). The project lonelygirl15 was a low cost production, so it did not need a lot of funding. The project recruited a lot of viewers since it was the second most viewed youtube channel (Greening & Knight, 2011). Besides that, the involvement with the audience was really high since viewers could communicate with lonelygirl15 on myspace (Greening & Knight, 2011). Also, many viewers gathered on the message boards to discuss clues in the series and to find out who lonelygirl15 really was (Greening & Knight, 2011).
When looking at the financial aspect, lonelygirl15 helped binding the viewers to targeting brands and that the project had an advertising nature (Greening & Knight, 2011). For example, lonelygirl15 was the first internet series that introduced product placement (Dena, Fingleton & Wilson, 2008). There was an idea for building the franchise even further and to produce a movie (Greening & Knight, 2011). However, after revealing that lonelygirl15 truly was a hoax, many viewers lost interest and some even abandoned the youtube channel (Greening & Knight, 2011). But, when the creators posted a statement on the website concerning lonelygirl15 and that she is a reflection of everyone, real or not, the opinion of viewers changed again (Christian, 2009). The viewership began to increase again and one year and a half after the show went public, the creators received money to produce even more shows beyond lonelygirl15 and the spin off, Katemodern (Christian, 2009). However, this spin-off included more product integration and sponsorship deals and the spin-off ended in 2007 (Wei, 2010).
To conclude, the lonelygirl15 project was pretty successful, had a lot of active viewers and gained a lot of media attention. Especially for the creators, the project turned out to be a very succesful.
Christian, A. J. (2009). Real vlogs: The rules and meanings of online personal videos. First Monday, 14 (11). Retrieved from www.firstmonday.org
Dena, F., Fingleton, T., & Wilson, J. (2008). The Writer’s Guide to making a digital living: choose your own adventure. Sydney, Australia Council of the Arts.
Greening, B., & Knight, K. (2011). Authenticity, marketing, and viral YouTube videos. Retrieved from viralmedia.pbworks.com
Rushfield, R., & Hoffman, C. (2006, september 8). Mystery fuels huge popularity of web’s Lonelygirl15. The Los Angeles times. Retrieved from www.latimes.com
Wauters, R. (2011, may 23). Lonelygirl15 Creators file to raise 3,5 million for web series. TechCrunch. Retrieved from: http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/23/lonelygirl15-creators-file-to-raise-3-5-million-for-web-series-company-eqal/
Wei, W. (2010, july 10). ‘Loneygirl15’ Turned web series into a multi-million dollar company. Businessinsider. Retrieved from: http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.businessinsider.com%2Fwhere-are-they-now-creators-of-lonelygirl15-turned-web-series-into-a-multi-million-dollar-company-2010-7&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNFXkXntssRcQO2otEoHrnD8OKXQRg