Wednesday evening, the producers of the Streamy awards announced a For Your Consideration program, which for a fee, would allow Streamy nominated webseries to send either a DVD or USB memory stick to some or all of the IAWTV members. The cost is $6 dollars per item, so sending one to each member costs $1400 dollars ($6 x 220 members). Several members of the web TV community met this announcement with a fair amount of skepticism.
The first question that immediately jumps to mind is why send out DVD’s for an award show that celebrates online video? After all, one would assume that the nominated series would wish to capitalize on its new found fame stemming from a Streamy nomination, so it seems reasonable that a nominated series would still be viewable online. Secondly, after announcing the For Your Consideration program, the official Streamy blog announced that it had partnered with popscreen to embed the nominated series directly into the Streamy ballot. This seems like a much better and simpler idea. If a voter is undecided as to which series to vote for an example of the work is just a click away; in contrast, to keeping track of numerous DVD screeners, which, undoubtedly, will all arrive on the same day.
The second major concern seems to be that this once again pits the smaller independent producers against those with deeper pockets. After all, $1400 dollars, in some cases, exceeds the budgets of many webseries. This year, even more so than last year, has seen a rise in the conflict between the independent creators and the studio-backed producers. Many of the smaller independent creators, perhaps thinking that this was finally their year to shine, have felt that they have been overlooked in favor of courting favor with name stars and big budget productions. The FYC program serves as an easy target for this animosity.
In an impromptu chat this evening, Brady Brim-DeForest defended the program as a necessary source of revenue to sponsor the Streamy awards. Since then there has been a flurry of discussion in various chatrooms and on twitter as to the merits of the program. Stay tuned to this blog for further developments as they occur.
Update: Looks like the program has entered the 436.