Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The IAWTV and Streamy Awards part company

UPDATE: Interview with Amber J. Lawson, Chair of the Awards Committee of the IAWTV on rocketstail.com (via Jeff's link on indieintertube.tv/Backchannel)

In an announcement today, the International Academy of Web Television revealed some of its plans for the future which include detaching from The Streamy Awards and creating their own awards due in Fall 2011. This has been met with surprise in some quarters, but most of the reactions I've seen have been positive. And the IAWTV and members have stressed that the parting is amicable and based on how best the IAWTV can serve the community.

Zadi Diaz, (Epic Fu, New Mediacracy Podcast and much more), the well-respected new media creator and commentator, posted her take on the announcement on her blog:

"...This change will allow the IAWTV to focus on investing all of its efforts into providing valuable resources to its membership.

Three months (six for veteran board members) and dozens of meetings (between the board and all the committees) later and I am confident that we are on a path to creating an organization that will provide great value to our community as a whole. ..

Zadi also published the announcement letter sent to IAWTV members which outlined the main reasons for the split:

"... Non-Profit vs. For-Profit: Due to the IAWTV’s legal structure as a non-profit entity with the mandate to serve the community for which it was established, all profits from an award show in which the IAWTV is involved should go back to the Web television community through programs and resources established by the IAWTV. The Streamy Awards is currently structured as a for-profit entity. We have found it impossible to harmonize these competing objectives and desired ends.

· By the Community, For the Community. IAWTV membership is growing now that open enrollment is in place. We have an awesome Executive Director, a fantastic, professional Board of Directors, and terrific members taking leadership roles at a grass-roots level. Due to these realities, we agreed producing our own awards event is possible and makes sense. Therefore, we believe it is important that the IAWTV create a non-profit award show for the community, by the community that benefits the community.

· Financial Responsibility. The primary obligation of the Board is to do what is financially responsible for the organization. We have very limited funds presently at the IAWTV. If we were to work with a for-profit entity to produce an ambitious event for the sake of maximizing profits, we would likely put the IAWTV under severe financial stress. We decided it is best to live within our means and not spend money we do not have...

Felicia Day, (The Guild, Dr Horrible and much more) also set out her views on the announcement in a blog post:

"...My biggest hope with this change is that we can move on and focus on how the IAWTV can serve the community at large, to help and educate people who want to make their own content, but need more tools.  Opening enrollment to EVERY qualified member recently was a big step. There’s a lot of mobilization with the current members to form writing groups, producers groups, creation of a new website to connect members from around the world etc.  THERE is where the future of the non-profit IAWTV lies: in servicing the members.  And if we can have a low-key awards show to honor the members of our community for their talent, then that will be the icing on the web video cake...."

Liz Shannon Miller broke the news on NewTeeVee with the headline "IAWTV Dumps Streamys For Its Own Award Show". Reading through the article and those above, though, it seems that rather than simply 'dumping' The Streamys, the IAWTV have taken some tough decisions and come up with some solutions that should best serve the community.

It has been a long six months since The Streamys and during that time, like many people, I've been doing a lot of thinking, trying to work out what has been going on and what role I want to take (if any) in this community. I love creating, commenting and being part of the new media/webseries world, and I've made some amazing friends in the process. I wouldn't be making a new webseries if I wasn't committed.

I held off applying for IAWTV membership because I simply had no real clue what I was signing up for. The path still isn't crystal clear but I am very happy with this announcement and the direction things seem to be going in. I'll be applying to the IAWTV next week. If I get in I will take an active part in the forums and discussions because this community excites me, fires me up and inspires me. You can discuss this over at the IndieIntertube 'Backchannel' message board, where several people have already commented.

What do you think of the announcement?