If anyone hasn’t noticed, I’m a fan of the new Galactica series on Scifi. I love the ability to download the episodes from iTunes. As I said once before, this may be the new method of distribution for lesser known programs that won’t make it to DVD.
That being said, between seasons, The Scifi Channel had a series of “Webisodes;” ten 3-4 minute web only episodes which explained some of the goings on which occurred between the season two finale and the season three premiere. In addition to fleshing out the story, the webisodes gave fans a bit to chew on in the interim and helped build hype for the premiere.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Between Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, The Cartoon Network had a series of short cartoons about the Clone Wars.
It seems that Galactica’s webisodes have created a civil war of its own. It seems that NBC/Universal declared the webisodes “promotional” and thus the writers were not eligible for residuals or credit. Needless to say, the writers were not too thrilled with that. A battle broke out and it seems that, at least marginally, NBC/Universal won. Of course, after the first 10, no new webisodes were made.
Needless to say, these are the obstacles that are going to be faced as the internet starts taking over more of our entertainment content delivery. Parallel content seems like a natural extension to me but I can see why it might be considered “promotional,” even if the work going into the content is the same as for the actual show. It is likely non-revenue generating and may not be economically viable if subjected to the standard practices of the Writer’s Guild. Then again, why not get the same pay for the same work. I suspect that this is going to become a huge fight. And, as usual, we, the consumers, are the ones who are going to lose, as there will be less content available.