Verizon’s go90 has ordered an additional 30 episodes of dark high-school comedy “Mr. Student Body President,” which is co-created by YouTube talents Jack Ferry and Ryan Hunter and rolled out with a 10–episode first season in September 2016. The streaming company has also ordered 12 additional episodes of sci-fi adventure series “Miss 2059,” from well-known digital-first writer-creator Anna Akana. “Miss 2059” series premiered in Summer of 2016; both exclusively on the mobile streaming app.
“We want to get behind what’s working on go90 in a big way,” said Ivana Kirkbride, Chief Content Officer at go90. “Doubling down on a hit like “Mr. Student Body President”” which has also been picked up internationally by All 4 in the UK, “and…“Miss 2059” is just one way in which we strongly invest in our partners.”
But what qualifies as a “hit” on go90 remains a mystery. While the company does not reveal viewership numbers publicly, nor to its partners for the most part, it’s possible to get a sense of the audience and community engagement around the series by looking at comments and likes on the episodes. “Mr. Student Body President” grabbed sub-100 comments on what appear to be its most popular episodes, and on most episodes, a few dozen engagements. Akana’s series grabbed stronger engagement across the 12-episode first season. Both ended with passionate comments from the audience begging for second seasons.
With the influencer “star power” reaching into the millions of followers across various social video channels, it’s perplexing as to why these episodes would grab such little engagement as the “most popular dramas” on go90, according to a release.
Renewals, while great for the industry and the production companies behind the series, don’t mean much without a benchmark of comparison across a broader landscape, which begs the question — are renewals truly based on performance metrics or are renewals simply a favorites game?
If the latter, how long will titles like “Miss 2059” and “Mr. Student Body President,” despite their star-power and increasingly-improving production quality, continue to be teacher’s pets?
Because without real viewership, it’s a ticking clock until the big-money distributors’ wells dry up.