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Will the web series world support the new Streamy Awards?

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The Streamy Awards are coming back for a third round sometime in 2012, thanks to a partnership with Dick Clark Productions, which has produced awards shows ranging from the Golden Globes to the American Music Awards, and is looking to build the Streamys into a similar franchise for recognizing Internet content.

Things regarding the Tubefilter-produced awards show had been relatively quiet in 2011, following the poorly received 2010 Streamys and a split with the IAWTV last November. But this deal, as covered by Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, emphasizes the possibility for the Streamys to not just return, but potentially be broadcast on television.

However, according to Tubefilter co-founder Drew Baldwin, speaking via phone, that’s not a guaranteed certainty: “There’s a strong possibility that it may be online only — it might be on TV, it might be both. It’s a wait-and-see situation.” What matters to Tubefilter and DCP at this stage is re-engaging the web series community and making up for the 2010 awards by creating the best possible show for 2012.

Much like in 2009, when seasoned award show veteran Gary Smith handled the production of the first Streamy Awards, Dick Clark Productions will be in charge of the show’s overall production — answering critiques that the 2010 awards, which were produced solely by the Tubefilter principles at the time, were badly run. “We are teaming up with one of the biggest producers of live events — from the very baseline the show is going to be very high-caliber and professional in quality,” Baldwin said. “We have a lot of confidence in this company.”

While DCP will handle the production of the show, according to Baldwin, “It’s our responsibilty at Tubefilter to make sure it doesn’t get away from that heart of independent creation which occurs on the web. That’s going to be our job, to engage the community in the process of the Streamy Awards from the nominations forward, to make sure that the right people get the recognition. We want to make sure it doesn’t turn into just a high-profile, star-f–king type of event. What’s really important to us is that it’s about the creators online — about the people who are creating great stuff.”

Details regarding the organization of the awards were not available, but according to Ariel Elazar, DCP VP of digital distribution and brand licensing, one key element will be to differentiate between three types of online video — studio-produced supplemental content, original web series and the video produced by YouTube creators — and honor all of them equally. “We want to bring mainstream notoriety to the great content online,” he said via phone.

Voting will be driven by a combination of audience voting and a “blue ribbon panel” of more than 50 people who, in Baldwin’s words, “are high profile individuals who are qualified to recognize excellence in online entertainment.” The aim is for that panel to be full of creators, who, Baldwin said, are “the most qualified people to discover and evaluate the best in web content.”

The need for that blue ribbon panel comes with the separation from the IAWTV, which was originally created primarily as a voting body for the Streamy Awards, before it evolved into an organization aimed to support the community creating web originals. Current IAWTV chairman of the board Paul Kontonis, when asked for comment, said he was excited about the Streamys, but questioned the Streamy’s status as a for-profit initiative, as opposed to the forthcoming non-profit IAWTV Awards, which are currently set to launch at CES 2012 this year.

“It’s a commercial venture that will have a lot of razzmatazz and great entertainment value — but it’ll be another glamour awards as opposed to an event that has real meaning,” Kontonis said via phone. “The IAWTV Awards will be meaningful because it comes from the creators, for the creators, benefiting the creators.” According to Kontonis, profits from the IAWTV Awards will go toward research, educational and training initiatives for the IAWTV community.

The 2010 Streamys may have acquired a certain infamy, but over a year later, what do people think about their return? An informal survey of creators in the space (many of whom were Streamy winners or nominees in the first two years) have a varied outlook at this stage:

“It’s the best thing that could happen to this industry we’re all committed to building. I think if the web series world wants a legitimate seat at the entertainment industry’s table, it needs to support those that support them in making that happen. I think what the web series world needs is attention and respect from those best-positioned to fund its growth as a legitimate entertainment medium. If one, two or twelve award shows help to do that, then I think it’s great.” — producer Wilson Cleveland (whose past work in branded content included bringing Trident on as a sponsor for the 2010 Streamy Awards, and dealing with the aftermath).

“Honestly, I’m extremely torn. While I have to acknowledge that of course teaming up with such a high-profile production company is a huge win for the Streamys, my fear is that those involved did not listen to the feedback of the community after the second Streamys were so largely seen as unsuccessful. A lot of that feedback urged the Streamys to go back to a smaller, more community-centered event — more of a celebration of online video and its pioneering creators.” — Anonymous

“[The Streamy producers] realize that they messed up — they’re allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. It’s a sophomore slump. And one of the main issues we face as creators is credibility. It’s hard to get people to trust your shows when you’re not NBC or ABC. So even the idea that Dick Clark’s production company is getting involved gives credibility to us. If we want to be pros, we have to compete with pros — because if we can beat celebrities, it adds more to our credibility. Bring it on.” — Break a Leg creator Yuri Baranovsky

“My thinking is that it’s typical. It always looked like Tubefilter were more interested in television and its existing stars than web video and its bustling talent. This news confirms that thinking.” — Anonymous

“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to draw more eyes to web series that may not have been seen previously. One of the purposes of an awards show is to draw eyes to those being honored, otherwise what’s the point of the award?” — Compulsions creator Bernie Su.

“I worry that, in this new incarnation, if a lot of terrific web series don’t have the right creds they may be overlooked. I hope I’m way off base about this. Because the chance to be introduced to a massive new audience and welcomed as legitimate contributors to the arts and entertainment arena would make it possible for us to continue doing what we do and even make a living at it. So, I’m rooting for Dick Clark Prods and the Streamys to be a match made in heaven.” — Anyone But Me creator Susan Miller

“Awards shows have always been and are nothing more than marketing tools for all involved, so I think it’s important to get more mainstream media involved with and spreading the word about online video. If the Streamys are small and stream only for the web then it will be just that — small. I think the reach and the awareness that a TV awards show will bring can only help the web community. But be warned — there was a time when Sundance was truly independent. With success and exposure comes the need for mainstream talent to sell advertising.” — Anonymous

“I honestly feel like this industry can use all the promotion it can get. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about web video, it’s that survival is success; find a way to get it done, do it as well as you can do it, and keep moving forward regardless of the mistakes. Hollywood LOVES a comeback story. I guess we’ll get to see if they love the Streamys’ comeback story.” — VP of Content Steve Woolf

On Friday, there was also an interesting Tumblr post by VidCon organizer Hank Green on the subject of why VidCon does not include an awards show component at this stage. “I think online video is just too damn young. It may not seem like this from the outside, but to me it is very clear that creators are still casting about trying to figure out what it is that they want to do” is just one of his reasons.

But where do you stand? Let us know in the comments.

Disclosure: NewTeeVee was a media partner of the 2009 and 2010 Streamy Awards.

14 Responses to “Will the web series world support the new Streamy Awards?”

  1. Blake Calhoun

    Anonymous quotes about the possible new Streamys? Are you kidding me? That’s really lame. Liz, please don’t ask cowards to comment in the future. What are they afraid of… not getting nominated? I applaud Paul, Wilson, Bernie, Susan, etc. for speaking their mind, like it or not.

  2. 1Tim Street

    I think the Tubefilter guys have done more for the web series community than any other organization except maybe YouTube and BlipTV who have been giving us all free bandwidth for years. As for the Awards Shows, I want to go to both The Streamy Awards and the IAWTV Awards.

  3. series maker

    The IAWTV today announced to members from the chairman Kontonis a congratulatory note to IAWTV and Streamys founders Drew Baldwin, Josh Cohen and Marc Hustvedt about the Streamys announcement. It also was very optimistic about IAWTV members participating in the Streamys. Given how the last Streamys went and what little information is known about the next Streamys except that DCP will produce I think the IAWTV and its board have been very generous. I, myself am really looking forward to the IAWTV awards.

  4. Rob Barnett

    Safe bet that if you’re reading Liz, following this announcement, and making it all the way to ‘comments,’ then you’re one of the blessed members of our community of creative wizards who fought for the past 5 years to build a legit business for the most fun and freedom any of us ever imagined. Our baby is going from crawlin’ to walkin’ — here’s one more vote for lovin’ vs. fightin’. Every act that gives a great content creator a chance to get more views and cash is a step in the right direction. Congrats to The Streamys for getting one of the most legendary brands in show business to help our baby grow. (ok – haven’t had coffee yet…shutting up now)

  5. Call me cautiously optimistic. As long as the production honors genuine members of the web series community and not just the more recognizable names (Tony Awards, I’m talking to you) this could be a wonderful way to attract new viewers and, yes, money, to deserving artists. I look forward to seeing what develops from this collaboration.


    The truth is is that no one owns the Web. Success online is not determined by awards, but rather measured by viewership and revenues. To me, if you are doing what you love and can make a business out of it, that is reward enough.

  7. Jamison Tilsner

    I initiated the process that transformed the IAWTV from the informal judging body of The Streamy Awards to a bonafide member-run non-profit because my partners and I were honestly committed to advocacy of, by, and for the creators of an open entertainment medium. What I regret — and did not anticipate at the time — was that this organization would become a platform to repeatedly denigrate the sincere efforts of my passionate, hard working and under-compensated colleagues who are themselves the embodiment of independent content creation. Particularly stinging is the insinuation by another once-struggling online video entrepreneur of anything but an honest desire to build an enduring brand that highlights incredible talent.

  8. Wilson Cleveland

    With all due respect, the IAWTV isn’t doing its followers any favors having its chairman on the record dismissing an opportunity like this for being “commercial” and lacking “real meaning.” Even when it’s genuine, altruism doesn’t pay the rent; and industries don’t grow without compromise or competition.

  9. Mathieas

    Why wouldn’t they support it? To be sure petty people will always be petty and there are plenty of petty people playing power games in the web series world; however, for the regular web series looking for some exposure (plus money and recognition) they will be most willing to embrace and support the Streamy Awards.

  10. Robert Welkner

    Nice article but who are all these Anonymous peeps — if you need someone to speak about important topics and not worry about the weight of their name behind them then feel free to call me up anytime.