Case Study

Rolling Stone, MTV, Epic Fu?

Where is Web video's Rolling Stone magazine? Epic Fu's creators think they're building it.

By Published on .

The Creators: Zadi Diaz and Steve Woolf, a husband and wife team in Los Angeles who create the semi-weekly Web show "Epic Fu." Diaz is the on-air host.

The Distributors: "Epic Fu" maintains its own site and is distributed on Metacafe, Revver, Yahoo Video, Daily Motion, Break, Veoh, YouTube,, iTunes, MySpace, TiVo and other sites. The show is also distributed by Revision3 to its network of online video destinations including, iTunes and YouTube. Woolf and Diaz said their aim is to drive viewers to to watch the show because of the community features available on the home site. That includes forums, a blog, and video feedback capabilities. "Community is an important part of our show and that's what we think separates our show from other news, tech and culture shows on the Web," Diaz said.


The Content: "Epic Fu" is a five- to six-minute news and variety show about Web culture, covering music, art and technology. "We see the Web as the new underground culture," Diaz said. "That's where all the trend-setting is happening and we want to highlight interesting art and music and bring it out to the forefront where people go to see what is happening. We want to be what Rolling Stone magazine was for the '60s and '70s generation and what MTV was for our generation--a touchstone or tastemaker for the audience." Recent shows have covered topics such as graffiti art, using Facebook and Google Maps to plan random neighborhood pool-dipping parties, and independent musicians like Lyrics Born. Each episode usually includes recent news from the Web world, a musician pick, and either an interview or deeper discussion on an issue. For instance, the show recently covered video-game addiction and Diaz invited viewers to share their own "campfire videos" on the topic. In the next episode she showed a handful of clips from viewers. The Web site counts about 3,000 registered users. "There are a lot of reasons to call people back to because it's a central hub for all this stuff," Mr. Woolf said.

The Sponsors: "Epic Fu's" sponsors current include eMusic, and Netflix via Revision3's network-wide ad deals. "Epic Fu" also landed Carmex as a sponsor. Carmex approached the creators directly and will sponsor three more episodes this year. Past sponsors include Paramount and Lionsgate, back when "Epic Fu" was distributed by Next New Networks.

Backstory: Diaz and Woolf launched the show in June 2006 and partnered with Web video studio Next New Networks in March 2007. Next New Networks distributed and sold ads against the show for a year. Diaz and Woolf suspended production in March 2008 to retool. The pair is repped by United Talent Agency. In June "Epic Fu" partnered with Next New Networks competitor Revision3, also an online TV network. Revision3 licensed and now distributes "Epic Fu" and sells ads in the show. Diaz said six people work on the program, with three part-time and three full-time including the two creators.

Endgame: "We are growing 'Epic Fu' to be the tastemaker and the show that we imagine we are going to be working on for the next several years," Woolf said. "We don't see in two years being done. We look at how to grow it, who to bring on, what other deals we can do, not just on the Web, but how would it look on TV, in a book, in other places." Woolf and Diaz said they have had conversations with TV networks about carrying the show on air. Ultimately, they turned down a multi-year offer from a cable network to create a TV extension of "Epic Fu" because the deal was too restrictive, they said. "We are open to every possibility and we are passionate about the Web and what we are doing," he said.
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