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Webisodes are short series of episodes that available to stream or download from the Internet. They usually served as minidramas produced along with established television series (Hale 2008). But of course, the making of original material is another driving force behind the emergence of webisode.

In the article “Webisode for Kids”, Chris Corbett talks about the production of webisode for children and the trend behind this new medium. Nowadays, children are easier to get influenced from their viewing experience with the Internet. Donnelly (2008) found that children do not have the capability to think mature and make wise decisions. Any violence content should not be included in webisodes targeted at children. But again, there is no censorship law online and most producers continue to include scenes that are gory to children.

Figure 1: Violence scene from Happy Tree Friends

Source: http://happy-tree-friends.download-tvshows.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Happy-Tree-Friends.JPG

With regard to format, webisodes are often view from web streaming or mobile devices. This creates a problem on viewing compatibility. Most of the webisodes ‘are both digitally and aesthetically ‘locked’ to the technical properties of a single platform, device or, delivery protocol’ (Dawson 2007). In other words, the producers forget about the possibilities that their production will be played on other screens. Since webisodes are designed to fit only to small screen, there will be some viewing difficult when they are watched in television and such.

Also, when caters to children, the length of webisodes should be around 5 minutes. This is because they have a rather short attention span. Kress & Bearne (cited in Walsh 2006) states that children’s life experiences are based on ‘logic of the image’ and ‘logic of the screen’. In order to enhance communication with them, an incorporation of digital modes that combine visuals, words and images could maximize the effect. Hence, using an appropriate format and content could successfully reach out for children as they have the potential to become an important audience for future production of webisodes.

Reference

Dawson, M 2007, ‘Little players, big shows’, The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, vol 13, no. 3, pp. 231 – 250.

Donnelly, K. 2008, “Youth Participation and Media Literacy on The-N.com”, Studies in Media and Information Literacy Education, Vol. 8, No. 1, viewed 18 November 2009, <http://utpjournals.metapress.com/content/5w64702214k28083/>.

Hale, M 2008, NBC Bridges Series Gaps With Online Minidramas, viewed 18 November 2009, <http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/29/arts/television/29webi.html>.

Walsh, M 2006, The ‘textual shift’: Examining the reading process with print, visual and multimodal texts’, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 24 – 37.

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