There are many out there expressing opinions on what will go down for the relatively small amount of people who will even remember this as infamous in the shaping of this space.
We have been vocal to so many around the community as well as when speaking on panels at conferences and events or consulting, but never really allow ourselves to let out our strong opinions online. We believe it’s not the proper forum (as ironic as that sounds coming from us), but no one seems to be mentioning some aspects of the major problems we face moving forward, so we were compelled to write.
For the past 2 years we have, on our own time, for no compensation, created original video content showcasing the nominees for the Streamy Awards. We do this out of passion for the space, and to make sure there is some light hearted-ness of some of the realities of web television. We can only hope the video we made this year was a showcase of the proper way to do self satire, while still embracing the space, which is the tone the entire event should have had.
We are very outspoken with our opinions of the community and feel we’re somewhat shunned for it, and truth be told we had some more heavy hitting concepts we attempted to include in our piece (though all still with the right tone) and were in fact censored to not make light of the awards themselves, the finances of web content, and most disappointing, to not include nominees that no one would recognize outside of the room nor make any “insular” jokes. We don’t even need to explain the hypocrisy of the above if anyone saw the rest of the awards show.
There are many things to be disappointed about and many of our peers have already blogged about all of them, and very well. What we see missing though is mentioning the bigger problems within our community, one of which is everyone not holding each other accountable. We do not ensure that the people with true talent and deserving shows rise to the top (which includes viewership, no viewership = no success, and know many disagree, but we will stand by that claim). We cannot allow anyone who makes a web show to be patted on the back and raised up when they don’t deserve it. The community should never shun, but should also require real work ethic, production value, quality content, and an understanding of the space so we can showcase the best of the web to traditional media and advertisers (and not like new media blogs or the Streamys where a mash of some great, some irrelevant, and some horribly shot and/or written shows that continues to give the web its reputation as being confusing to navigate and filled with amateurs).
Everyone is focusing on the embarrassment of the Streamys and endless mistakes and rightfully so- but there are bigger issues. The Streamys and how they were run and executed is the showcase of the problems across our community. The ego and self importance of a community that is at its core not relevant enough yet to garner lavish spectacles especially since most of its “biggest” shows have suspect viewership or no viewership at all. Anyone looking from the outside sees us as creators trying so hard to make themselves seem important when they’re not vs. facing and embracing the challenges we all have as this entertainment space evolves and is still so much in its infancy.
We believe the number one problem in the advancement of the web video business is transparency. Transparency will lead to defining this space. Once we are open with budgets, profit, process, views- we can fully understand where we are, and how to build properly. To anyone from a company buying, autoplaying, or hiding their viewcounts- you are damaging this space and the community. You are teaching incorrect expectations to brands by not being up front, and in turn damaging us all. You are setting us back, not moving us forward. Stop being selfish.
Everyone needs to take a step out and be self reflective. As new people come into the space they are learning all the wrong things about what their goals should be and what is possible to attain. Striving for a write up on a blog or a Streamy Nomination do not lead to much. Most will fail and never make a cent in this business, they need to know that. Others who do well, will only be barely making a living. And let’s be honest, most of the content made is sub par on some level to begin with, and we need to be open about that too and start letting people realize they need to up their game because their content just isn’t good enough.
For those of you who know us, you know we are as passionate as it comes with web video. We are one of the lucky few to have success on both sides of the more “pro” web space as well as on the YouTube side- and have been making content online longer than almost anyone. We never expected the space to grow as it has, and it’s been exciting and motivational, but at the same time we have trouble standing idly by while we all say “job well done” when there’s so much fraud, falsity, and arrogance in this community. Honesty. Reality. Case studies. That’s what we need. Let’s build this business properly. We don’t need award shows to celebrate ourselves and look important to our small community. Let’s work with the right people to build TRUE viewership and fanbases to prove sustainability and realistic expectations that comes with them to start showing what the business model and value is in web video.
The Streamys this year was the exclamation point to the larger problems that remain. The time has come to hold everyone accountable…..and we’d start with admitting the view jacking practices from the companies and individuals out there that is still rampant. We doubt that will ever happen…and that is the much larger problem.
Benny & Rafi Fine