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A tale of two web series

By Matt Stump, May 21, 2015

As mainstream programmers debut new TV series on their own apps, outside the pay TV ecosystem, the question arises how this trend impacts the entire ecosystem.

Do programmers see these Internet apps as a testing ground/farm system to develop content that can migrate to their linear TV networks?

Or do these new series represent the first step in programmers creating a larger content delivery business outside the pay TV ecosystem?

Nickeloden last year launched Welcome to the Wayne on its own app. It was created by Billy Lopex, who created Phineas and Ferb, It will now move to the main channel, with Lopez commissioned to produce 20 episodes. But Nick plans to debut a companion app, dubbed The Wayne, that will provide viewers an interactive online experience.

Cartoon Network, meanwhile, is releasing its first made-for digital series, Mighty Magiswords, which will be available on the Cartoon Network Anything app. The programmer is adding an interactive app, that will feature games, activities and shorts related to the program.

It’s unclear at this point if Cartoon will follow Nickelodeon’s lead in moving a digital series to the linear channel. Given the more challenging monetization scheme for online video and the app world, programmers may find the linear world the better place to generate revenue from content that has garnered an online following. But once online/app monetization schemes catch up, that thinking may change.