Reddit just launched its first original video series, and it's based on the popular Explain Like I'm Five subreddit. It is, I must say, rather adorable. It warmed even mine own cold, Internet-hardened heart.
And it may prove to be a brilliant move for the property—Condé Nast has long prided itself for keeping its hands off the web's most popular link dump, but it seems to have awoken to the notion there are tons of memes and whole subreddits ripe for the content-mining. Google ponied up the cash for the series (Reddit won't say how much) and it debuted on YouTube.
The material for the segment was borrowed from the subbreddit, the Reddit-approved DonorsChoice organization sponsored the series, and the blog-world is, naturally, really, really excited about the whole thing. And there's more on the way, according to Reddit's higher-ups. "For us, it’s more about encouraging the Reddit community and bigger community of producers, filmmakers and animators out there to create content, video, web series, shows … based on Reddit content," Reddit general manager Erik Martin told The Hollywood Reporter.
But now the never-ending Oroboros of web-content production may finally have the chance to approach its grand and glorious apex: The web-browsing masses, browsing for free and on their own time, already produce and/or curate the content that keeps the ad-click cash pouring into Condé Nast. That content is then shamelessly recycled by Buzzfeed and everyone else (but mostly Buzzfeed) and is then upvoted on social networks like Reddit. Now someone might make web-TV about it, too.
There's the specter of the (Internet) age-old problem of exploiting user-generated content looming here, but for now, it's more interesting to consider what Reddit is injecting into its community's mix here. Frequenters of social media sites are already motivated by the promise of grandeur—the more you submit, the more you share, the more influence you earn, the better the chances you have of making content go viral, the more powerful an Internet overlord you become—and now Reddit is baiting users even further. Or giving them a "platform" of course.
If it's successful, Reddit is raising the stakes. Dream up and curate video-friendly content, too, it says. And we probably will.