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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What is Streamys, LLC?

In the aftermath of the Streamy Awards which rocked the web series community for all the wrong reasons we began to ask how this could happen.

It would be quite logical to look at the IAWTV (The International Academy of Web Television). This is after all the group that votes for the Streamy Awards (with the exception of the audience choice awards). The Academy is run by a California corporation called "INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY OF WEB TELEVISION, INC." which is located at the address of Deca.TV. Michael Wayne is Co-Founder, President & CEO of Deca.TV and is also Chairman of the IAWTV. According to the Deca web site "As Vice President, Strategic Alliances for Sony Pictures Digital and Sony Pictures Television, Michael was responsible for managing a team dedicated to developing new digital entertainment franchises in conjunction with strategic partners."

According to the Deca web site, "DECA (Digital Entertainment Corporation of America) was founded in 2007 to create a new model for the online entertainment experience. By identifying, funding, marketing and distributing next-generation digital content, we have become one of the leading players in shaping the future of entertainment." Among the properties on the web site are Smosh , the well known video vlogger.

According to Wikipedia the other board members of the IAWTV are: Drew Baldwin, Brady Brim-DeForest, Executive Director, Joshua Cohen, Felicia Day, Marc Hustvedt, Dina Kaplan, Vice Chair, Mo Koyfman, John McCarus, George Ruiz, Secretary, Jamison Tilsner, Treasurer, Michael Wayne, Chairman.

So at first sight the first place to look for how things went wrong would be the Board of Directors of the IAWTV. Right? In the process of asking the IAWTV for action we began to ask if this Board of Directors was the same as the board of directors of Streamys LLC the companys that seems to run and operate the Streamy.org web site and also hold the entertainment trade mark for the Streamy Awards. Who exactly is Streamys LLC? Well for starters they are a Delaware company that does not appear to be registered in California. On there web site they give "General Contact: Streamy Awards, 5405 Wilshire Blvd. Suite #270. Los Angeles, CA 90036" which is interesting because it is also the address of Tubefilter Inc., the company that runs one of the "industry" blogs. Given that several members of the Tubefilter team were involved with the production of the Streamys and are also on the Board of Directors of the IAWTV, it seems relevant to ask what their relationship to Streamys LLC is.

On the Streamy.org web site we have not yet not found information of the executives of Streamys LLC or its Board of Directors. However it would be reasonable to assume that Streamys LLC was deeply involved in the production of the Streamy Award ceremony and possibly even own the Streamys including all financial revenue generated from sponsors. Whether this is the case or not only the executives of Streamys LLC can answer.

So the question remain "What is Streamys, LLC?" More specifically, who are the executives of this company, who is on the board of directors and how does Streamys LLC fit in with the IAWTV. Only when we have answers to these questions will we begin to unveil how the Streamy Awards went so very wrong.

See also the statement from the IAWTV.

Special thanks to those who helped with background research for this article.

47 comments:

  1. Some light devil's advocate thoughts:

    Perhaps the address is the tubefilter address because they had to write something and the academy just doesn't have an office of any kind at this point.

    Having said that some serious answers to these questions would definitely be nice.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If Streamy LCC owns the Streamys can the IAWTV even do anything do change how they are run?

    The way it looks like it is set up the IAWTV is little more than part of the supply chain for Streamy LCC. All it does is provides votes on nominees.

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  3. It is interesting that Michael Wayne's company is working with vloggers like Smosh and this year vloggers seemed to play a much larger role in the Streamy Awards. Certainly vloggers get huge views and are part of the web video community. However a few people have asked how the general vloggers fit in with the general theme of an Awards show that honors web series.

    Again we need much greater transparency in how these decisions are made by the IAWTV.

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  4. this could be an ARG rabbit hole!

    ReplyDelete
  5. People...it's a con. It's a con that's been going on for two years.

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  6. It's pretty simple to see what is going on. You have a handful of guys who want to control everything. They have the OnFronts which is designed to match shows with brands. They have tubefilter which review the shows. They have the Streamys which present awards to the shows. There are conflicts all over the place. Would they ever give a bad review to a show with a brand they are working with? Is that why they feed Ned small indie shows to review? Wonder if Easy to Assemble would "Pass the Mustard?" Who about only covering shows they feel of are merit? I think we all see now maybe they don't have the best judgement. They have an academy full of the best and brightest and can't be bothered to bring them in on how the voting process should work or get their opinion on potential host choices. These guys have their hands in too many things.

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  7. We certainly need some answers from Streamy LCC who ever they are.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Did notice something since the nominations were announced, but never said anything about that part... Still watching, and taking notes. :)

    ~D/S~

    ReplyDelete
  9. @modelmotion

    The Streamys is a way to make money. Two questions you should ask are:

    1. How much did the Streamys cost to produce?

    2. Who got paid what for their producing efforts?

    Good luck getting a straight answer on that.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You just asked them anon.

    Thanks.

    They are actually quite interesting questions. Let us hope that "Streamys LCC" steps up to the plate and answers everyones questions.

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  11. So it sounds like a lot of Sony $$$ is at play here. Is that why the Sony-produced "The Bannen Way" was shoe-horned into this years eligibility and garnered so many nominations when hardly anyone has ever heard of it?

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  12. The streamys, tubefilter and the IAWTV are all run by the same narrow minded trust fund babies....
    so they of course all wash eachothers backs- they are a joke, they have no vision- they all are greeedy and have investors to please....

    hopefully they will all go away- i blame foolish people for even thinking they were credible...

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  13. There is definitely a lot of money at play here at least if the sponsor reports are to be believed. Certainly the Red Carpet looked more like a product placement for Ikea and some of the reports of how non-insiders were treated are just unbelievable. Shameful!

    We all know money is important. But we also need those who create web series to be respected. This should not be an insider club. It should not be some secret society that favors those who pay for access. Certainly you need to keep sponsors happy but when you do that at the expense of those who you are honoring then clearly you have lost your way.

    Again, we need change. But first we need answers from Streamys LCC.

    ReplyDelete
  14. What we learned from lonelygirl15 (et al.), The Guild, Legend of Neil etc etc is that openness, transparency, honesty, etc etc etc means that an audience will not only forgive you for anything - they can also make you.

    Seems anything in our sphere that holds onto Legacy ways of working (that achievement on the web can only happen in a year, or be concentrated on shows coming out of CA, USA, etc etc etc)
    doesn't seem to work so well.

    Seems also that there is already a way of choosing and voting for the best/worthy of honour -- us! The web-series-watching community!

    Might there be a more innovative way of web series nominating other web series for categories (with communities lobbying, pushing and discussing for where that show's vote should go)?

    Clearly I've not thought this through, and we should respect the work of those who are actually bothered to do something about marking achievement in this emerging field.

    But I can't help thinking there's an easier way, more in-keeping with how we work the rest of the year?

    Anyway -- thanks for the awesome coverage & 2-way conversations...

    ReplyDelete
  15. You make some great points.

    This is a conversation a number of people have brought up over the past year but some how it just never gets focussed into any real action. Still I would agree that the web offers us the tools to make this an open, transparent World wide process. And, if we are going to honor web series we really should make sure we also respect and use the very platform it is all built on.

    ReplyDelete
  16. While I think there is certainly blame to go around and some very important questions that need to be answered, I do know one thing. I do not want the Streamys or any other supposedly serious award for content to be voted on by fans on the internet. That is an invitation to a popularity contest. (opinions a to what it is now notwithstanding)

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  17. Ha! Trust fund babies is right. My god, I've been saying this stuff from the SECOND Tubefilter meetup (back when only about 25 people were there, the "good old days").

    I mean, come on though, none of this stuff is really hidden. We know that the Tubefilter guys bought their way into this business with venture capital. We know they created the Streamys and the IAWTV to feed it. NONE of this stuff was a secret. It's just that they came in, bullied everyone, gained control of our fledgling industry and NOBODY said a thing about it because we were all scared that we'd be blacklisted. And we WOULD, make no mistake about it.

    There are a lot of good people in the IAWTV. but that organization was created as a mob union of sorts. A way to control the community rather than serve it.

    It's nice to see that people are finally speaking up about this more. Even if it is "anonymously." :)

    But, Tubelilter was CREATED out of a conflict of interests. It was created to make money off all of us. Why else would they do stuff like make a PUBLICIST one of their editors?! What? jenni Powell may be nice person, but she is a PUBLICIST, plain and simple (though it doesn't mention it in her bio on the Tubefilter site).

    The Tubefilter guys DO a lot of organizing. Fun stuff that I attend. But, in the end, it really isn't for US. It's for THEM. And I'm not even saying that it shouldn't be. But let's not fool ourselves any longer about Tubefilter and the folks who run it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. @anon above. I agree with most of your post, but I wouldn't agree that Jenni Powell is a "publicist". Sure she has done publicity for webseries she is involved in, but she is so much more.

    Traditionally Tubefilter has been loathe to ever negatively review a series (some of us call this tubefellatio because we are vulgar and probably qualified now to present at the streamys).

    Tubefilter, and Tilzy previously, and the Daily Reel before that, were all organized as a serious attempt to make money covering the webseries industry. They've never lied about that.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Interesting about the blacklist. That has been a rumor for quite a while and I suspect LA can be a rough town. I sincerely hope that there is not such a thing. If there is, then that is one more reason for change.

    The international community needs to exert its influence here and bring some sanity back to the web series genre. Those who think they can blacklist people should not think they can do it with impunity. The web is a powerful tool as those behind Streamy LLC have just learned.

    In the end we will move forward but blacklisting, if it exist needs to end. Those who associate with anyone who has been doing such a thing should re-think their actions because it makes them complicit.

    ReplyDelete
  20. On another note, where did Tubefilter get its venture capital? Is that documented somewhere?

    ReplyDelete
  21. But, Tubelilter was CREATED out of a conflict of interests. It was created to make money off all of us.-

    They dont have enough power to blacklist, mike wayne, and the zeros at tubefilter are pussies, greedy mommas boys

    ReplyDelete
  22. Nothing wrong with a company making money if they are making a good product. Their blog serves its purpose.

    However once you get into awards shows, a certain level of transparency is expected/needed.

    Without having a clear understanding who the Board of Directors of Streamys LLC is, who the executives are, and what their relationship to Tubefilter and the IAWTV is, it is hard to fully appreciate how things went so far wrong with these awards.

    All we want is a simple honest answer and then perhaps we can move forward. Certainly the IAWTV needs to have all these answers and perhaps they can provide them to us if Tubefilter and Streamys LLC is not willing to.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have heard that this whole mysterious black box of Streamys LLC, Tubefilter, the nomination and awarding process, and relationships between all, are being looked into by Times' reporters. Some good journalistic digging might answer questions others don't want answered.

    Here's an idea: how about one of you good bloggers do an exhaustive investigative piece, and beat the Times to the punch? It seems only fitting that 'the community' ought to be able to police itself.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have been bothered by Felicia Day winning awards while sitting on the IAWTV board, also she was shown with a huge picture with a streamy on the main streamy page almost everyday during audience voting. That’s not fair to the other shows that are competing against her show. Still think someone (Whoever was in charge of the awards either Brady, Drew, Jamison, Joshua or Marc) should step down from the Streamy awards and take responsibility for the 2010 disaster so we can move on.

    ReplyDelete
  25. The IAWTV is in a tough position here. That appears to be a separate company and hence has its own Board of Directors that have no direct control over Streamys LLC. This would mean Felicia has no say in how the Streamys.org is run or what goes on in their various pages. It also could mean that the IAWTV has no rights to the Streamys.

    They are gonna have to figure out how to fix all this going forward.

    There are still a lot of questions about how this set up came into being in the first place. Hopefully ALL the IAWTV members are asking the questions they should have asked when they joined and participated.

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  26. Anon, are you referring to the Los Angeles Times or NYT. I would assume the former, but just wanted to clarify.

    ReplyDelete
  27. How many people applied to get into the IAWTV and didn't get in?

    As a content creator with one show out on a webtv network and two new ones coming out this year, I was encouraged to apply to join the academy. Months later I got an email that they were unable to offer me membership at this time. But encouraged me to reapply in 6 months.

    I was personally sent a facebook message to apply and had great references.

    Did something like this happen to anyone else?

    Just wondering how elitist it is.

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is exactly the type of question we need answers to. There needs to be more transparency from the @IAWTV in terms of how it is run, who makes decisions and how they are made.

    ReplyDelete
  29. John Lydon of The Sex Pistols sums up EXACTLY how I feel about the IAWTV at this moment.

    "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"

    ReplyDelete
  30. considering ALL of my references on my IAWTV app were Academy members and Twitter was flooded one day with 'I've been rejected by iawtv' throughout the day...yeah, I'd say it's elitist.

    ReplyDelete
  31. There are a lot of good people on the @IAWTV. Why are they not asking these questions?

    If any of the talk of the alleged "blacklists" or "a mob union" are true then reputations could be seriously damaged.

    It would be in the best interest of the members to take action now and launch an independent inquiry into how the @IAWTV has been run and find out if there is any validity to these allegations.

    It appears that at least 5 people were rejected from the IAWTV yet we still have no idea how that selection process works. This thing is beginning to look more and more like a "secret society" rather than a true representation of the web series community.

    Any existing member of the IAWTV should ask them self this: "Is this what YOU stand for?" If not, why have you not taken action?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Unfortunately twitter search only goes back 58 pages

    http://search.twitter.com/search?max_id=12375821042&page=58&q=iawtv

    so the data on the IAWTV rejections is not there.

    It would help if some of those who were rejected would step forward and tell us their story. However if the talk of alleged "blacklists" or "a mob union" is true it is understandable that some people may feel their careers are on the line.

    However if the web series community just sits back and tolerates this then it does not bode well for the future. We know that at least 5 people were rejected, apparently without good reason and it is quite possible there are many more.

    The IAWTV Board of Directors has yet to comment on this situation despite our repeated requests for openness and transparency.

    ReplyDelete
  33. From the IAWTV web site:

    "The International Academy of Web Television (IAWTV) is an independent non-profit organization whose membership is comprised of leaders in the field of web television, web video and the digital entertainment industry. The principle mandate of the organization is to oversee the selection of nominees and winners for the annual Streamy Awards™ which recognize outstanding achievement in episodic shows produced originally for broadband distribution."

    So, that clarifies one thing. The IAWTV is actually a non-profit organization. However they only handle the nomination process.

    However, Streamy LCC may in fact be a subsidiary of Tubefilter, or at least Brady Brim-DeForest lists Tubefilter as the parent corporation of Streamys LLC.

    http://www.linkedin.com/companies/streamys-llc

    Also listed are 5 employees who also work for Tubefilter.

    If true, that means that any profit from Streamys LLC would "feed through" to Tubefilter Inc.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I can tell you that I've had personal dealings with a few of the people on IAWTV/TubeFilter/Etc and that yes, they are elitist corporate shill mamas boy trust fund babies who are looking to take over the web television industry. Plus, they most assuredly do have a blacklist. I'm on it. Screw 'em.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I hear a lot of people saying the Streamys will be better next year. That maybe so, but unless we get to some of the core issues it will just be a cosmetic fix. I believe putting lipstick on a pig is now the term used.

    What is not clear is why Streamys LLC was ever set up in the first place. Why are the awards not run by the non profit company that the members belong to? That is how the Oscars are set up, right?

    Clearly Tubefilter made it easy for members to have "their award show" but its really not their show if Tubefilter owns it. If that is not the case Tubefilter should step forward and explain how the set up works.

    Also the fact that Tubefilter fills 5 out of 11 seats on the Board of the IAWTV almost guarantees that nothing will change unless the bulk of the IAWTV stand up and revolt against what is really a totally inappropriate arrangement. Is that going to happen if people feel their careers are on the line if they speak up?

    ReplyDelete
  36. To be clear here, this is not about Tubefilter. I admire any start up and Tubefilter has done a lot for web series. Had they set up the Tubefilter Awards as a private for profit business that would have been their concern.

    However the Streamy Awards were set up to look like a legitimate non profit Academy. They were represented as our award show. That appears not to be the case and that is a problem we all need to face head on.

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  37. With the IAWTV, it's important to note that all 11 members of the board are there as varying levels of a volunteer basis.

    Even if you put the 5 Tubefilter guys as having the most to gain since they put on the Streamys, the other 6 (board members) all have more pressing things and more cash earning things to do in their professional lives than run the IAWTV.

    As far as exact cash the Academy has, it can't amount to much. People who applied and got rejected didn't have to pay dues. So the only proven income that organization has is $90 x 220 members. Not very much. I'm sure Streamys x Tubefilter kicks in something but still. A big show like the Streamys ain't cheap, hundreds of thousands of dollars. The IAWTV doesn't even have one full time employee as far as I can tell.

    As for the transparency of who gets in and who doesn't that's always weird. You're always gonna have debates of well if so and so got in, then why should't this other person get in.

    I'm guessing from their perspective that (not just TF but the original academy, the agents, the business guys at the distribution sites {atom, blip, nextnewnetworks, myDamnChannel}) didn't want the academy to grow too fast too quickly. When you go from 90 to 220, that's still a solid 250% gain in membership (that is huge for ANY organization).

    I feel as much as anyone in the academy (Tubefilter guys or not) can encourage you, me, EVERYONE, to apply... they weren't the final voice. Time permitting, I want all the journalists who cover Web TV to be in the academy next year. I thought that voice was poorly represented this year.

    Anyway, everyone is welcome to form their own opinions on the processes, the only thing I will adamantly fight against is the notion that the Streamys, Tubefilter, and the IAWTV are making a greedy/deceitful money grab. That's just ridiculous.

    (I'm not saying anyone in this thread is claiming that... but I've seen it around some of the boards).

    ReplyDelete
  38. Realistically, a goal of getting rich from the Streamys is ridiculous; however, had the show gone off without a hitch they would have gotten a great deal of social currency. In short, they would have continued to expand and gain a leadership and influencer role within the web TV space. Sometimes influence and power are more valuable than money.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I originally posted this over on a Ning where you will find a good discussion of this topic:

    http://www.webseriesnetwork.com/profiles/blogs/the-bannen-way-star-defends

    ReplyDelete
  40. Interesting discussion. A lot of good points. However I believe that the core problem here is structural rather than process. True the process needs a lot of work but if you build on a flawed structure you will end up with grave problems no matter how skilled the execution of the process.

    I have already laid out part of the problem here and for those who have not read the comments thread it is well worth your time:

    http://www.webseriestoday.com/2010/04/what-is-streamys-llc.html

    Basically you have 2 companies involved in the Streamys. The one that "runs" the Academy "only votes" and is set up as a nonprofit. The other company appears to be a subsidiary of Tubefilter (or as Brady explains it on Linkedin Tubefilter is the "parent company" of Streamys LLC). What that essentially means if accurate is that Tubefilter owns and controls all aspects of the Streamys and any profit or loss would flow from Streamy LLC to Tubefilter Inc. (Tubefilter has yet to comment on the accuracy of this despite requests to do so). The Academy has on the surface very little control over any of this. Contrast this with the Oscars where I believe a nonprofit owns and operates the entire award show.

    To Compound the problem employees of Tubefilter now occupy 5 out of the 11 seats on the Board of Directors of the IAWTV. This means it would be very difficult for any initiative to win approval without the agreement of Tubefilter.

    So, not only does the Academy have virtually no control over Streamy LLC but any checks and balance that might have been provided by a representative Board of Directors for the Academy simply is not in place. Tubefilter appears to essentially control both ends of the "game" and the Academy members essentially play by rules set by Tubefilter.

    Now Tubefilter has done a lot in the "space" and does bring a lot to the table but in any structure you need balance if it is going to be effectively run. Is handing over total control of this Awards show to Tubefilter a bright idea? Is that what you want? Last year it might have seemed so, but we now know it is fatally flawed and we saw the house of cards crumble to the ground.

    Given this, might it not be a good idea to take a very close look at how the Streamys are structured before even talking about next year? Can the structure be fixed? Can we look to other award shows for a better model? The Oscars have stood the test of time but I am sure there are many others.

    That said, it is quite possible that Tubefilter would not agree to any change in this flawed structure and since they own the Streamys there is very little any of us can do about that.

    Now depending on the charter of the Academy the members might have some control over the Board of Directors of the IAWTV, so the members might eventually be able to elect a more representative body that could take the organization in a new direction. But remember it would not have any rights to the name "Streamy Awards".

    Now remember funding an award show is not easy and that is part of the process Tubefilter was able to do well given the sponsors this year. So, ideally everyone can work together to create a structure that has checks and balances, is open and fair, and shuns any notion of "blacklists" or the "mob union of sorts" that have been alleged. In particular we need to make sure that the admission process for the IAWTV is open, fair and transparent and has clearly articulated criteria of what it takes to become a member. It is clear that this year some felt they were rejected without good reason and some may even be afraid to talk about it publicly for fear of retribution. This is just not acceptable.

    If we can achieve the right structure (which would probably be a single nonprofit company owned and run by the IAWTV) then we can begin to talk about next years Streamys.

    ReplyDelete
  41. "Sometimes influence and power are more valuable than money."

    This is exactly the case. Companies often leverage one intangible asset to gain footholds in other tangible assets. In business intangibles are often as important as tangibles.

    The way the Streamys have been set up actually prevents the organic growth of the Academy as an independent nonprofit. Just read through the history of the Oscars on Wikipedia. If there is sponsorship money it should go to the Academy who would then have a say in how it gets spent. And yes, Bernie is correct in that this would require substantial changes in how the IAWTV is run. But, is that a bad thing? Are you really happy with how it is being run today?

    As for the Board of Directors of the IAWTV there is simply no way you can justify 5 members from Tubefilter if the IAWTV wants to represent itself as an "independent body" That simply defies all logic.

    ReplyDelete
  42. You wrote: "Anyway, everyone is welcome to form their own opinions on the processes, the only thing I will adamantly fight against is the notion that the Streamys, Tubefilter, and the IAWTV are making a greedy/deceitful money grab. That's just ridiculous.

    (I'm not saying anyone in this thread is claiming that... but I've seen it around some of the boards)."

    I say, power is EVERYTHING in Hollywood, and it is more valuable than money. for better or worse, right or wrong, this is a power, not a money, grab.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Certainly if the IAWTV is not run independently by a well balanced representation of the web series community then that will lead to problems going forward. Right now the Board of Directors is not representative and they do not even control the Streamy Awards. We saw how that mix ended up this year.

    However, if this year had gone off really well the results could have been even more disastrous in the long run because it would have place TF in a totally dominant position over the awards. At least now a few people might hopefully start questioning the set up and what sort of "power balance" best represents the needs of the genre going forward.

    Certainly TF has every right to claim the Streamys name since they created and branded it. However the IAWTV needs to seriously consider its reputation as an "independent body" and what best serves the needs of the web series community, not TF. That will probably ONLY happen if the core membership of the IAWTV step up and take control of the organization and its Board of Directors.

    We have been given a 2nd chance to get it right here. Will we take it and do what is best for web series or will we simply revert to the status quo?

    ReplyDelete
  44. I guess you all forgot this: "To lure more ad dollars and improve the quality of Web TV shows, the International Academy of Web Television is developing a set of best practices for Web TV creators, Beet.TV has learned.

    While at the recent NATPE conference in Las Vegas I sat down with George Ruiz, a new media agent at ICM who also serves as secretary for the IAWT. He shared the details on the new guidelines the group is developing."

    http://www.beet.tv/2010/01/the-guild-inks-deals-on-itunes-netflix-web-tv-academy-develops-standards.html

    ReplyDelete
  45. Thanks anon. There has been talk of "standards" for a while. How are those coming along?

    ReplyDelete
  46. I'd love to see a replay of the fiasco. Can someone tell me where the video is?

    ReplyDelete




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