IAWTV Updates: Board Members Step Down, Streamys Future Up In the Air

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Major changes are afoot for the International Academy of Web TV’s leadership, as five members of the board of directors — Brady Brim-Deforest, Josh Cohen, Marc Hustvedt, Mo Koyfman and Jamison Tilsner — have resigned from from the board. This means that four of the five Tubefilter principals on the board have now exited; Drew Baldwin is the only one who remains. A special election will be held in July to fill the five open seats.

Each member’s decision to step down, according to executive director Elisabeth Flack, was made for personal reasons. As an example, Koyfman, who’s a principal at investment group Spark Capital, said via email that he joined the board “as a favor to [Chairman of the Board Michael Wayne] initially as a friend, and stepped down simply because I was too busy with other board commitments — both VC-related and charity. Had nothing to do with anything else.”

Brim-Deforest, with whom I spoke via phone, said that he decided to resign because, “My personal intention was never to control something. I wanted to build it to pass it along to the community as a whole.” And after the community’s um, passionate response following this year’s poorly received Streamy Awards ceremony, Brim-Deforest felt comfortable stepping down. “I felt that the community was galvanized to participate,” he said. “Sometimes a little bit of controversy goes a long way towards getting people involved.”

The reason that five members of Tubefilter were board members to begin with, Brim-Deforest said, was “more of a convenience — an organization takes a long time to build and to scale. It was just about being custodians for the IAWTV and ensuring that it got off the ground.” In addition, at the time of the board’s formation Tubefilter had not yet acquired Tilzy.tv, which Cohen and Tilsner founded.

Tilsner, according to Brim-Deforest, is no longer with Tubefilter, having recently taken a position at Kantar Video. He remains an active member of the IAWTV, however, as do the other board members who have resigned. The board has created a non-voting Director Emertius seat to be held on a rotating basis by the IAWTV co-founders, which will first be held by Josh Cohen. “We as a board discussed ways of recognizing the contributions of the founders. [The Emeritus position] was one idea that was thrown out and so we adopted it,” Wayne said via phone.

Two meetings with the membership — one in Los Angeles, one in New York — took place this week to lay out the election schedule for the new board seats, which goes as follows:

Jul 1: Call for nominations
Jul 6: Nominations tallied
Jul 7-10: Nominees accept or decline the nominations
Jul 12: Candidates announced
Jul 12-18: Campaign week
Jul 19-23: First round of voting by the membership, verified by two volunteer election inspectors
Jul 26-30: Potential second round of voting, depending on number of candidates

The new board members would thus be elected in time for the next board meeting, scheduled for August 24.

Another issue addressed during these member meetings was the formation of committees dedicated to focusing on key issues for the organization. One of these, the awards committee, will be specifically in charge of coming up with a recommendation to the board as to what the IAWTV’s relationship with the Streamy Awards — or any awards show — should be in the future.

While initially the decision about that relationship was going to be made by Wayne and Brim-Deforest, as discussed at the May 12 Los Angeles member meeting, Wayne said that following said meeting, they decided to let the awards committee generate the first proposal. “The membership needed to figure out what it wanted from the awards and what was best way to represent the organization,” he said. “It shouldn’t be a top-down decision, it should be a bottom-up decision.”

13 people so far have signed up for the awards committee, including Streamys co-producer Drew Baldwin. According to Brim-Deforest it would be up to the committee to determine how to handle any potential conflicts of interest that might result from Baldwin’s participation, and IAWTV executive director Elisabeth Flack said she didn’t think that Baldwin’s presence would prove a problem. “That’s up to the committee itself,” she said via phone, “but what I’ve seen in Drew Baldwin is passion and dedication to the IAWTV overall, and a desire to really work on this with the committee and with the membership.” Baldwin did not respond to immediate requests for comment, but I’ll update this story accordingly should he do so later.

I attended last night’s Los Angeles members meeting, and while the turnout was much lower than the May 12 meeting (due no doubt in part to conflicting with Game 7 of the NBA Finals), Flack presented a clear agenda to an engaged room. (There were also remote viewing options available to those unable to attend.) Flack was positive about the results when we spoke this morning, saying that “A lot of positive responses — lots of members want to help and want to make recommendations. What’s important is that as a community we continue to move forward together.”

Disclosure: I am a co-founder of the IAWTV — the only one who is/was not a Tubefilter principal — and thus technically eligible for the Director Emertius position. However, I am not a member of the board, was not consulted about the seat’s creation, and have no official authority within the IAWTV.

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