The producers of Web serials — including the name-brand ones like “Afterworld,” “lonelygirl15” and “quarterlife” — seem forever anxious about their audience numbers, and they crunch and recrunch them. The producers of “lonelygirl15,” a thriller about a teenager stuck in a cult, claim that they have attracted 100 million views over more than 550 episodes. Marshall Herskovitz, the creator of “quarterlife,” a repertory drama about artsy 20-somethings, counters that his show has drawn 10 million views over 36 episodes — 50 percent more, on average, than “lonelygirl15.” This is possible, since the unit of success is the flimsy “view,” meaning virtually any click on any part of a series, anywhere on the Web. But it’s clear that we’re not talking about numbers advertisers can remotely trust. Are there really any hit Web serials?
The NYT romps through the "numerati" take on web serials.