The wheel will come full circle for Super Size Me’s Morgan Spurlock (pictured) when Yahoo! debuts his latest web series, Losing Your Virginity with John Stamos, later this summer.
The documentarian’s first web series was I Bet You Will, a 2002 webcast about people paid to do outrageous things that sold eventually to MTV.
Spurlock says his aim then was on launching programming on the Internet as a test or pilot platform for film and TV. “We had proof of concept early on,” he recalls of I Bet You Will, which he also co-hosted.
That said, a decade ago the documentary filmmaker was also frustrated with the unreliability of the web, which included frozen screens and low speed access for surfers. So Spurlock took his profits from the sale of I Bet You Will to MTV to shift from web production to traditional media, while still with an eye on an eventual return online.
That came in 2007 when, with the Internet more reliable and ubiquitous, Spurlock approached Hulu about a possible collaboration.
The result was the A Day in the Life web series, which Spurlock co-owned with Hulu on a 50-50 rights basis. Warrior Poets Entertainment, Spurlock’s production shingle, followed that up with Failure Club for Yahoo!, and then spun-off the Mansome documentary with Jason Bateman and Will Arnett into a web series, also for Yahoo!.
All of which has opened up new platforms and viewers for the successful filmmaker. “I look at the internet as an incredible place to reach a different audience,” he explains.
That audience is filled with fans of Spurlock’s films like Super Size Me and Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?
But internet TV also has the documentarian able to target a difference audience, one that skews younger, or is more tech savvy. Mansome, a daily strip with episodes of three to five minutes, has captured around 10 million views since January 2013.
“That’s huge. This little web series we produced has been seen 10 million times,” Spurlock remarks. Now Warrior Poets is looking to combine elements of Mansome into longer-form episodes to possibly take the property to mainstream TV.
Which brings us back to Losing Your Virginity, an internet TV series he’s exec producing in which actor John Stamos interviews celebrities about their first sexual experience.
Spurlock, who is also to host the original CNN series Inside Man from June 23, argues digital content creators need to find multiple platforms for their product to survive and thrive in today’s fast-changing media landscape.
“Whether you’re creating a film, is there another place you can take that? Whether you’re creating a web series, can you monetize it somewhere else, can you create content related to it?” he asks.