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Online community Reddit is experimenting with original web programming and is debuting three episodes of a new web series on Monday. The web series is called Explain Like I’m Five and is based on the subreddit on the website where queries to political or social issues are answered or discussed by the site’s users.
Reddit general manager Erik Martin tells The Hollywood Reporter that the series, which is funded by YouTube, marks an experiment to encourage the site’s users to create web video rather than a larger foray by the company to get into original web programming.
“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,” Martin says.
The “Explain Like I’m Five” subreddit, which the company says gets an estimated 4 million page-views monthly, was chosen because its discussion concept seemed fit for a video series.
The series features actors Michael Kayne and Langan Kingsley explaining broad topics to children in a classroom. The series covers diverse subject matter: “The Crisis in Syria,” “Existentialism and Friedrich Nietzsche” and “The Volatility of the Stock Market” are the titles of the three episodes.
The ELIF series is produced by Jared Neumark, the founder of Landline TV and former co-director of content at College Humor. Each clip ends with a message pointing viewers to DonorsChoose.org, a online charity that helps provide teachers with classroom resources.
While the series will only be three episodes, Reddit may produce more original programming in the future based on other subreddits, Martin notes. “We’re really curious what happens organically,” he says.
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