Some fans are a bit disconcerted by the release strategy and format of Summer Glau's new show Sequestered. Indeed, the Sony-ownned streaming service Crackle has decided to release the 12 episodes of their new legal drama in two batches, the first 6 episodes are available from August 5, and the last six will be available October 14. More, each episode last only 22 minutes, whereas one would have tought they would be 45 minutes.
Crackle is trying something new with the short format and two-parts release of Sequestered, which seems logical since their streaming service is less known than other well-established streaming platforms. When you're a challenger, you need to propose something that is innovative if you want to grow in terms of customer awareness; and again I'm not talking about the content itself but about the choice of format that Crackle made.
Streaming services usually offer an entire series all at once and the viewers then decide at which pace they want to watch the episodes. The benefit of this approach is that it creates a huge amount of social buzz in a short time, as many hardcore fans binge watch an entire series in just a day or two. However, unlike a broadcast network television series that airs an episode a week, the buzz tends to die down relatively quickly as the show’s most vocal fans complete their watching experience.
Crackle's approach is to smooth out the burst effect and build a longer momentum by releasing the 12 episodes series in two parts.
The two-months gap is designed to get audiences hooked on the show, create an expectation, let the fans speculate about the story and have them convince more people to come back on October 14, when the second part of the series will be available.
The best part is that newcomers can have a quick marathon to catch up with the first batch of episodes, since the first six episodes are only 22 minutes long. Audiences usually complain that breaks kill the momentum for broadcast network TV series, but it doesn't apply in the case of Sequestered since you can have a quick marathon just before the last six episodes are available on October 14.
Don't forget that Sequestered is a Summer series, the viewers are not expected to get involved in complex characters and plots. The series is one case stretched out over a full season, there are no such thing as a standalone episode; the vast majority of the early viewers will probably come back in October to watch the denouement of the series. The fact that each episode is only 22 minutes long, instead of 40-45 minutes for a traditional TV drama, means that there is no downtime; the story evolves at a fast pace, with an emphasis on plot twists rather than character development and each episode ends with a cliffhanger.
Presumably money is a key factor for this decision, half the usual runtime - about 42 minutes - equals roughly half the production cost. Sequestered could have been just six full length episodes but audience perception is a factor here. People ae more likely to accept twelve episodes as a complete season of a cable show, even if they are half length.
Time will tell if this refreshing, innovative watching experience will be successful; judging from the way critics and audiences alike are raving about it, I have the feeling Sequestered might be a game changer.
If you want Summer's show to be successful, watching it for free on Crackle website and on many devices, including iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and smart TVs. is the way.
You can also spread the word on various social networks and in the fan sites. The more people are talking about the show (that's called "social impact"), the better.
Don't hesitate to give your impressions on the show in the various threads dedicated to the show in the forum. Similarly, don't hesitate to engage me on Twitter (@chrisdvanne) or if you're too lazy (or shy), re-tweeting my tweets would be a good way to show your support to the show.
In the following weeks, Crackle has a few promotional events coming up. It is with great pleasure that we will support them and hopefully so will you.
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