Short form stories created for online audiences

The Webseries Fund supports the development of new online series and provides an exciting opportunity for innovation in story-telling. In 2017 we are transitioning to a new single strategy and platform neutral fund, the NZ Media Fund. The below relates to our existing funding processes until 1 July 2017.


Overview

The webseries fund was created in 2013 in response to the growing appetite for online series.

In 2013 we supported four webseries from 54 applications. In 2014 five Māori webseries were funded as part of a co-funding initiative with Te Māngai Pāho. In 2015 we received 109 applications and we supported eight new webseries. 

In the face of increasing demand for webseries funding, we are revisiting our criteria in 2016 so that the environment for applicants is as fair as possible, and so that the series we fund have the best chance of success.

2016 Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants must provide links to a pilot, episode or previous season of the proposed series, along with evidence of audience interest.
  • Applications should include co-investment of 5-15% (or more) of the total budget.
  • Series that have a significant platform for distribution will be prioritised.
  • Applications must include a plan for marketing and promotion and demonstrate understanding of the target audience.
  • Applicants must be NZ residents or a NZ-registered company.

More detail is available in the 2016 call for proposals document.

Skip Ahead

This year we also joined forces with Google / YouTube to create Skip Ahead; a fund for YouTubers who already have a significant audience for their channel. Skip Ahead provides the opportunity for successful YouTubers to develop new narrative webseries ideas. Recipients of funding will receive up to $100K towards the production of their webseries, as well as resource and support from Google towards the development of writing, production and promotion skills. 

The Skip Ahead fund is now closed. See below for links to more information and the application documents.


Showcase

Kete Kōrero

March 2016

Kete Kōrero

Live action drama and animation bring Māori mythology to life.

Reset

June 2016

Reset

A children's sci-fi thriller that looks at what happens when aliens land in New Zealand.

12 Huia Birds

March 2016

12 Huia Birds

12 Huia Birds is a fully interactive picture book app for children in English and te reo Māori

Flat3 - Season 3

October 2014

Flat3 - Season 3

Follow Lee, Jessica and Perlina as they try to figure out who they are, what they’re doing in this life,
and whose turn it is to buy toilet paper.


Strategy

Webseries are gaining popularity all over the world. It is a rapidly evolving genre of story-telling that is coming into its own.

Webseries are different from television in the duration and structure of episodes, in the way a narrative is held together across episodes, and in the style and content of the stories. They’re constantly innovating.

At its most basic a webseries is a series of episodes released online. Typically 6-12 episodes of 2 to 10 minutes duration, a webseries is not ‘telly on the web’. It is not a TV episode cut into three pieces.

Telling stories in short episodes means the story construct is different. Creators need to consider the timeframe they have to hook viewers in, capture their attention and leave them wanting to come back for (or click through to) the next episode.

Webseries also have to find their audience. While there are platforms or aggregators emerging in this space, the biggest challenge we see for webseries creators, is reaching audiences. For this reason we put a lot of emphasis on the requirement for a good publicity and marketing plan as part of a proposal, and we hold workshops to support producers who are successful in getting funding.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have created a FAQ to help address some of the questions we get asked about Digital Media Funding. Take a look here.


Apply for funding

The Webseries and SkipAhead rounds for 2016 have closed. Please see the new funding rounds as part of the new NZ Media Fund for 2017.


Things to consider

The following pointers are based on what we've encountered in projects funded so far, and also considerations drawn from international examples and experience:

  • Release plan - does it make sense to release one episode a week, or two, or all the episodes at once?
  • Audience - who is this series aimed at? What do you know about their viewing habits, location, access to technology, interests etc?
  • Promotion - how are you going to tell people about your webseries? How will you stand out from the masses of content already out there? What is your social media plan?
  • Engagement - if you’re releasing episodes one at a time, how will you bring people back to the site/series?
  • Distribution - will you have a standalone website, join an existing platform, have a YouTube channel? Note that in 2016 priority will be given to applications that do have a significant platform attached. This helps to ensure the audience can be reached effectively.
  • Success - how will you know your series is successful? How will you measure this?

Previous Projects