Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Like Web Video, but With a Budget and People You've Heard of–Kiefer Sutherland Jumps From "24" to "The Confession"

Remember when Internet video was going to be like TV and movies, only on a smaller screen? During the first tech boom, a lot of folks thought Web video would look like pint-size versions of “real” shows, with budgets and plots and stars you’ve heard of.

Fast-forward to today, and the most successful Web video* doesn’t look anything like TV. It looks like Web video, and it’s usually made for very little money, featuring people who don’t get work doing anything else. (See: YouTube’s Partner Program, an increasingly important part of Google’s video site.)

Which is why it’s interesting to see what DBG is up to. The video ad network is finishing up production on a new series that’s sort of back-to-the-future: A 10-part dramatic serial, featuring real actors, cameras and even a script.

It’s called “The Confession,” and it will star Kiefer Sutherland, last seen on “24,” and John Hurt, who has been seen in lots and lots of stuff.

I’m unclear about the plot, but I’m pretty sure that it will be some sort of thriller. If you were putting Kiefer Sutherland in a Web serial, it would pretty much have to be a thriller, right? In any case, you’ll be able to see it in March, most likely via an initial exclusive run on Hulu.

DBG won’t cough up the financial details, but the company does tell me that its actors and crew are being paid real money and aren’t donating their time or exchanging it for revenue/equity/good karma.

And for now, at least, DBG is on the hook for all of that: Unlike almost all Web video that gets made today, the show was made without a sponsor’s buy-in. But the company is confident it will land advertisers soon.

We’ll get a better sense of whether the bet was a good one over the next few months, as the company releases teaser trailers. For now, it’s giving us a clip of Sutherland talking. Still, interesting:

Kiefer Sutherland on The Confession from Peter Kafka on Vimeo.

*We’re talking about stuff created for the Web. People are also quite content to watch “real” TV shows and movies on the Web, via sites and services like YouTube, Hulu and Netflix. And at some point–not yet, but eventually–those distinctions are going to get much blurrier.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus