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The Business of Content

Oct 12, 2020

If you traveled back in time 100 years and perused your average newsstand, you’d find dozens of magazines that published serialized fiction. Millions of subscribers eagerly awaited new installments from their favorite authors, and a serialized story in a high circulation magazine could launch a new writer’s career.

But by the turn of the century, serialized fiction was all but gone. Or at least it was in written and audio form. TV shows, on the other hand, began to adopt complex, serialized narratives, and by 2015 these kinds of shows were dominating both online and offline discussion. That’s the same year a new app called Serial Box launched.

Serial Box operates a lot like a TV studio. Its stories are delivered in weekly installments. Each series is written by a collaborative writers room. The most successful series will often continue for multiple seasons. There’s only one major difference: instead of producing TV shows, Serial Box publishes text and audio stories that could be read or listened to in the same way you consume a novel.

I recently interviewed co-founder Molly Barton about Serial Box’s origin story, how the company produces new series, and why she’s pursuing adaptations outside of the Serial Box app.