Valuing the Web Series: Symposium summary

Valuing the Web Series: Symposium summary


1) Taylor Litton Strain/Erin Goode, creators, interested in research to help them make business cases for web series, attract funding, find data to support expectations about audiences.

Our research could develop a repository of case studies focusing on financing, production and release strategies:

How and where web series creators found financing, how much they spent on production/postproduction and where they put their money, and marketing/release strategies – for example: do you release soundtrack for your webseries on itunes first and then make it free on Spotify or other way round?

Such case studies could elicit insider information about short cuts and tactics – for example Taylor had figured out how to use Facebook’s services to get information on the number of people who like Jessica Jones in Sydney – information on niche audiences – Facebook allows you to pay to reach the kind of people who like shows like your own.

Our research would also yield international data on web series producers’ business that could expand knowledge of practitioners in our local Australian market.


2) Research on television has focused on high budget drama formats, but little research so far on low end of the spectrum, grassroots content production appealing to transnational taste cultures.  Landscape of television changed, hollowing out of the middle with streaming services and currently high end and low end of the spectrum experiencing rapid growth.


Reasons to map this sector of the screen industry:

  1. Globally web series exploding in a number of countries.
  2. Australia globally a leader in web series production, numbers of web series risen from 150 in 2015 to 3,700 in 2017 (Steinar figures right?)
  3. Simultaneously advertising revenues collapsing, dramatic fall in terms of dollar amounts spent on clicks per thousand (Stuart figures?) and many web series practitioners going into serious debt to make web series with no clear information about whether this will pay off career-wise.
  4. No one systematically monitoring the web series internationally, web series sometimes mentioned on imdb but not systematically tracked.
  5. Lack of information on sustainability of the sector and this is a problem for developing coherent policy.
  6. We need research to scope the scale of this sector, assess its potential in terms of career trajectories, meeting diversity targets and its value to audiences, practitioners and screen industries. Develop typology of major genres.


Ideas for what we would do:


  1. Examine career trajectories of ‘successful’ web series producers, using Joel’s World Cup tallies (he tracks how many selections, nominations and awards web series receive on international festival circuit). Gather longitudinal data on 30 (?)successful creators over three years, reinterviewing every six months.
  2. Track both people and productions, looking at life cycle of web series productions.
  3. Focus groups. Using in kind contributions from webfest not for profit partners, conduct qualitative study in France, Canada and Australia looking at – business case studies, production culture, diversity in terms of regional, rural, indigenous etc, sustainability and career trajectories. Web festivals particularly good value as partners because they can organise for focus groups with practitioners, giving us access and helping us make the most of our visits.
  4. Analyse emerging culture of this sector– what constitutes success for practitioners, folklore about calling card strategies, when you stop being an ‘emerging filmmaker’ anecdotal evidence from symposium we held suggests adoption among practitioners of the language and perhaps strategies of Internet start-ups (e.g. referring to a web series as a ‘proof of concept’)
  5. Compile a ‘strategic data base’ of case studies, repository of information on business strategies, financing, career outcomes and content diversity and value to local economy.
  6. International forums on future telling – at Web festivals will also hold forums gathering experts in web series industry (mix of producers, creators, writers, researchers) to discuss where the industry will be in ten years, produce some informed projections.
  7. Stuart – important that we explain how our research will leverage previous work funded by the ARC.
  8. Our research will build on/leverage previous work including Annabel Sheehan – looked at everyone who won an AFI and tracked their careers plus explored background and how they got to the AFI. (This was funded by the AFC) Also a model for us is Tony Moore and Mark Gibson “fringe to fame” discovery project history of postwar period of avant-garde of outlier culture that becomes more mainstream. (Who funded this – Stuart do you know? I could only find a paper and it didn’t mention funding in the acknowledgements)

Tony Moore, Mark Gibson, (2013) “Fringe to Famous: Bohemians, entrepreneurs, audiences and the enabling state. Asia Pacific Journal of Arts and Cultural Management, 10(1).

Sheehan, Annabelle. 1998. Career Paths in the Australian Film Industry: a survey of AFI Award nominees 1988-93, Australian Film Commission, September





Valuing the Web Series Symposium

In November 2017, C3P with support from Global Challenges, UOW, hosted a symposium that brought representatives of industry and academe together to discuss the value of the web series. We interpreted ‘value’ broadly, in terms of its value to audiences underserved by mainstream television, its value to creative practitioners and its value to the Australian screen industry. We welcomed a distinguished group of people including Rick Kowalski, head of comedy at the ABC, Rosie Lourdes who was then interim online investment manager for Screen Australia, Boaz Stark, writer of The Horizon, one of the world’s most watched gay web series (50 million views and counting), Julie Kalceff, creator of the international hit Starting from Now as well as a number of leading scholars  including  Stuart Cunningham,Distinguished Professor of Media and Communications at QUT, and our own Professor Sue Turnbull and Dr Steinar Ellingsen who cofounded the first web series in Australia and the fourth web series in the world, the Melbourne Webfest.

On day two, a smaller group of web series producers and academics met for a sustained discussion of the questions that need answering about the web series sector. You can find a summary of that discussion in the next post: Valuing the Web Series: Symposium Summary


MECO PICNIC 17 February 2017


The Material Ecologies Research Network gathers to kick off plans for 2017 at the Wollongong Botanic Garden with our second network picnic lunch en plein air

New members joined MECO in 2016 from our diverse spread of collaborative research projects, partnered events and individual practices.

Come and meet old and new friends.

Welcome All!


The Robert Woodward Mercury Fountain is a short walk from the Northfields Avenue pedestrian entrance to the gardens opposite the main UOW campus. SEE MAP:

Directions for travellers outside Wollongong


Driving: When driving from the north or south take the F6 Freeway and exit at the Keiraville exit then follow the signs to the Wollongong Botanic Garden.

Parking: Main car park is on Murphys Avenue, Keiraville; other possible parking in Northfields Avenue on the university campus side.

Free Gong Shuttle Bus

A circuit linking the Botanic Garden to the city, the beach, the University, Innovation Campus and Fairy Meadow. The service operates between 7am and 10pm from Monday to Friday. Every 10 minutes during peak (7am – 9pm & 3pm – 6pm) and every 20 minutes off-peak.

[Bare-nosed Wombat photograph and invitation design, top: Jo Law]

Thinking Landscape: Data, geography, arts, writing, patterns, collecting and interdisciplinarity

MECO and Global Challenges Seminar and Workshop

16th September 8.00am- 3.00pm

Mitchell Whitelaw Climate Data Walk 2009

Mitchell Whitelaw Climate Data Walk 2009


From data to drawing to writing and collections of material culture, scholars and practitioners have long developed a suite of ways to think and imagine the landscapes and environments in which we, and those we share the earth with, live. This day-long event will bring together interdisciplinary scholars and practitioners to explore and experiment with ‘thinking landscape’.

Landscapes are complex environmental, cultural and social entities, and artists, scientists and others continue to seek means of thinking and representing landscapes that can engage with and celebrate landscapes’ multi-dimensionality. This has made for centuries of practices of writing and painting, land and earth art, as well as contemporary advances in digital and geo humanities that focus on the evolution of data visualisation and sonificiation practices. The creation of immersive landscape experiences has expanded from the reflective performance within the landscape or gallery spaces to generative and critical data aesthetics.

In an era where global environmental change and social injustices are framed as ‘wicked’ problems requiring interdisciplinary solutions, and in which ‘creative experiments’ are framed as offering potential solutions to the temporal and spatial challenges of apprehending the changing conditions of our landscapes, this symposium suggests it is necessary to ‘think’ the landscape again. Such expanded senses of experimentation redistribute the sites, spaces, practices and subjects of knowledge—whether that be through the tools of environmental science or cultural histories and heritage; they make space for hybrid research practices and collaborative efforts, as well as redistribute expertise making new spaces for seeing, hearing and accounting for others in the representations and imaginations of landscape that are produced.

‘Thinking Landscape’ features a workshop exploring a range of practices of engaging with data about landscape, including visualisation and sonification data, as well as talks by Mitchell Whitelaw (School of Art, ANU and Harriet Hawkins (Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London,

To book a place and to see the full schedule please visit the eventbrite page:

For any other questions please get in touch with Su Ballard ( or Harriet Hawkins (

FutureLands II


Ian Milliss " Welcome to Kandos" 2013

Ian Milliss ” Welcome to Kandos” 2013

We are really excited to announce that MECO is working with the Space, Place and Country research cluster from Sydney College of the Arts, and  Cementa Inc. to stage Futurelands II, a public forum to take place in Kandos, NSW, November 11 to 13, 2016. The weekend will bring together artists, academics, agricultural innovators, ecological scientists, environmental activists, Indigenous custodians and the broader community to explore our changing relationship to land and the emerging art forms that are engaging with it. Among the confirmed speakers is Bunarong, Tasmanian and Yuin man, Bruce Pascoe, whose historical account of pre-contact Indigenous farming practices and aquaculture, Dark Emu, was recently awarded NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Book of the Year.

Futurelands II will also mark the establishment of the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation (KSCA), a collaboration between Alex Wisser, Ian Milliss, Lucas Ihlein, Diego Bonetto, Gilbert Grace and SPC member, SCA’s postdoctoral fellow Laura Fisher. Having recently been awarded an Australia Council grant, KSCA’s first project will be a landed artists’ residency that grants artists who work with ecological phenomena and agricultural innovation access to land to make long term projects. Gilbert Grace (SCA MFA) will be resident artist at Maloo in 2016/2017, a farm that is currently being rehabilitated by farmer and educator, Stuart Andrews, using the Natural Sequence Farming method developed by his father Peter Andrews. Grace will be growing a crop of hemp for the production of hempcrete, an alternative to concrete, formerly the key industry of Kandos.

Information about KSCA and Futurelands II will be updated on and If you are interested in attending Futurelands II or want further information, please write to MECO contacts for this event are and

MECO360: Hope remains while the company is true…

Agnieszka Golda | 1 June 2016

ForEverything that is1

Agnieszka Golda and Martin Johnson, “For Everything That Is,” 2016, installation detail, ink on canvas.

The sound of a familiar voice directs my attention towards my favourite movie. The opening narration to the cinematic rendition of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings told by the elven Lady Galadriel of Lothlórien:

The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was, is lost…

surely strikes a chord in all those particularly sensitive to climate change and shifts in ecological conditions. It’s uncanny how Galadriel’s poetic expression of lament evokes Paul Crutzen’s important remarks: “The world has changed too much… we are in the Anthropocene.” While Tolkien’s fantastical Middle-earth exposes the devastating impact of industrialised modes on nature, the geologic concept of the Anthropocene warns of an approaching climate tipping point. Lets hope, that it becomes an affective device, as the Last March of the Ents (urged by the most unlikely creatures imaginable, the Hobbits) for shifting beyond a state of human centred perspective.

Agnieszka Golda and Martin Johnson, "For Everything that Is," 2016, installation detail, ink on canvas.

Agnieszka Golda and Martin Johnson, “For Everything that Is,” 2016, installation detail, ink on canvas.

I’m yet again captivated by the view outside my studio window. There, in close proximity, stands an ancient mountain called Mt Keira. Lush and green, its peak surrounded by a crown of puffy white clouds, serves as a timely reminder of forests’ extraordinary capacity to influence local weather and stabilise regional climate. This remarkable ability to manage water has earned forests the prestigious status of being the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet. In fact, while more than two thirds of all terrestrial species survival directly hinges on forests, the ecological resilience of forests depends strongly on their biodiversity. Sadly, the long-term, cumulative effects of anthropogenic impacts on forests have brought about their colossal disappearance and therefore equally irreversible loss of the diversity of life on Earth.

Agnieszka Golda and Martin Johnson, "For Everything that Is," 2016, installation detail, found wood, amethyst crystals on found concrete.

Agnieszka Golda and Martin Johnson, “For Everything that Is,” 2016, installation detail, found wood, amethyst crystals on found concrete.

My recent collaborative projects are driven by a strong interest in deep ecology, mindfulness and unearthing ecocentric strategies for responding to the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event. This ecological crisis raises important questions for artists: how can artistic actions and imagination, bolster and safeguard Earth’s energies? Even though, portrayals of diminishing ecosystems give rise to feelings of dread, collaborations often instigate unforeseen alliances and resistances that can instill feelings of hope – a desire for change in a particular place. As Galadriel reminds us: Yet hope remains while the company is true.

Agnieszka Golda and Martin Johnson, "For Everything that Is," 2016, installation detail, found wood and amethyst crystals.

Agnieszka Golda and Martin Johnson, “For Everything that Is,” 2016, installation detail, found wood and amethyst crystals.

The MECO Picnic

On the 4th March 2016 we held the MECO picnic, a chance for members of the network to share recent projects and plan for the year’s activities. We discussed the involvement of members of the network with international conferences, and celebrated the successes of 2015. We resolved to expand the listings of people on the MECO blog to highlight the participation and input of HDR students. We extended our congratulations to Lucas Ihlein for his DECRA.

Future plans include

  • a make do workshop focused on critical and creative use of drone technology
  • the third MECO research camp that will examine Future Archaeology
  • a collaboration with Cementa in Kandos to hold a public forum ‘in the field’



the inaugural MECO PICNIC




From the Wollongong Botanic Garden website:

Succulent Collection #8
The diverse selection of succulents primarily from Africa and America provides a stunning backdrop for outdoor functions all year round in the clearing between the Dryland Mound and the Succulent Mound. A massed display of Mesembryanthemum makes a stunning presentation in spring and summer, with Aloes flowering profusely from June to August.