“Sexperts” hits impressive viewership

Columbia College new Internet and Mobile Media concentration scored an online success with the May 7 launch of its web series “Sexperts.” It garnered 70,000 viewers in three days and became the most subscribed channel of the week and the most subscribed comedy channel of the month.

“The launch only slightly exceeded our expectations,” says Wojciech Lorenc, who oversaw production and distribution of “Sexperts.”

“In the Video For Internet and Mobile TV class we teach strategies for a successful web series launch and we knew what to expect,” he adds.

“Even during casting for Sexperts, we were able to confidently tell our actors that there was a very high likelihood that tens of thousands of people would watch the show,” says Lorenc, a TV professor and digital media technologist for Columbia Center for Instructional Technology.

Beth O’Neill and Brian Rabinowitz star as a couple whose accidental release of their sex video lands them unintended notoriety as romantic advisors.

Lorenc was surprised by the demographics of early viewers: 59% female, 45% over 25, 25% over 45, as opposed to the heavily young, male viewership that might be expected for a sexually-oriented web series.

“This data proves that online video distribution reaches a wide demographic,” Lorenc says. “We’ll feel very comfortable creating content for a variety of audiences in the future.” To continue the rollout of the series, they’re developing a video podcast and a free iPhone application.

“High views, however, don’t always translate into many subscribers,” Lorenc says. “The large subscription numbers and subsequent ?#1 Most Subscribed Channel of the Week’ title can only be attributed to the talent and hard work of Columbia Students and the cast. They managed to create a show interesting and entertaining enough for thousands of people to follow and care about.”

Student Tyler Rutledge wrote the script for Michael Fry’s Writing for Internet and Mobile TV course. Students in Lorenc’s Directing the Webisode class directed the series. Lorenc oversaw production with student producers Jeffrey J. Jacobs, Katarzyna Kubala and Chris Kogut. Steve Apter’s Advanced Editing class edited the series.

Lorenc attributes the success of the first episode to guest appearances by “YouTube celebrities” Michael Buckley of “What the Buck,” Valentina Trevino of “Val’s Art Diary,” Karen Alloy of “Spricket 24”, and Tony Huynh of “The Wine Kone.”

Fry says the department is considering a second season to be shot over the summer, plus extension content being developed around certain characters to run between seasons.

The Columbia TV department is editing a set of digital shorts from its Emmy-nominated sketch show “Out On A Limb,” and prepping to launch its own YouTube channel in the fall.

New episodes run Thursdays at