Felicia Day's Success With The Guild Highlights The Importance Of Authenticity With A Community
from the keep-it-up dept
One of the keys to the success is that she chose the sponsorship deal with Microsoft, in large part because it let her retain creative control over the project -- allowing it to remain authentic and true to what her fans wanted and expected.
As buzz built, Day and her company, Knights of Good Productions, signed with ICM new-media head George Ruiz. "At one point, there were 25 different offers on the table," Ruiz says, "including from some major studios and networks and even a director with several $100 million films."This is a key point that often gets lost in business model discussions. When we talk about different offerings, it's amazing how much people discount the importance of authenticity as a scarcity. We see it all the time with companies who want to sponsor something, and then have tremendous level of control -- losing all of the authenticity and, with it, much of the value (and, eventually, audience). It's nice to see a situation where a company (in this case, Microsoft) properly recognized when not to get too involved.
Day turned down every one. "She said, 'George, don't make me take this deal!' " he says. So by the time Microsoft came calling, the agent had a new approach: The Guild is not for sale, but you can license it.
The Seattle-based behemoth bit. Microsoft pays an undisclosed fee to debut each season exclusively on the company's Xbox Live, MSN, and Zune platforms (season four debuted in mid-July). "There is a common perception about Microsoft," says Day. "Especially when we first signed with them, the fans had reservations." But she was impressed that it got what she was doing and didn't want to interfere. "Microsoft doesn't even give me notes [on scripts]!"