Moving On From the Streamy Fail

image I wanted to take a day to think about the disaster that was Sunday night’s Streamy Awards, before penning my thoughts on the dreadful event.

David Samuels from KoldCastTV , iJustine, Barrett Garese, Jace Hall and many others on Twitter have already shared their thoughts on the misogynistic, puerile, protracted and poorly executed event. Heck, in the aftermath, some predicted that it spelled doom for the nascent internet video industry, that we had so hoisted ourselves on our own petard of idiotic, juvenile jokes that we were unlikely to recover for years – if ever.

But after fulminating, ruminating and pondering, I’m not so sure. In fact, this might be just the systemic shock we need as an industry to finally grow up.

Let’s face it, we’re a young industry. Born just five years ago, even last year’s first Streamy event was more like the tentative steps of a toddler than the confident strides of a tween. But in one year we seem to have (aged) from cautious kiddie to full-blown adolescence, with all the attendant pain, suffering and ultimately growth that that awkward age brings.

As I searched for metaphors to describe last night’s carnage, I ultimately realized that it seemed most like a precocious teen, newly minted learners permit in hand, borrowing the family car for the night – and promptly wrapping it around the tree.

image The Orpheum theater had all the hallmarks of a classic awards programs thrown by our elders, including Oscar, Emmy and Grammy. With red carpet, two humongous jib-cameras, five additional cameras, and a fabulous looking audience.  The location has hosted numerous awards shows in the past, so it seemed ideal for the job.

Unfortunately, the evening quickly went downhill from the start, with technical glitches, directorial miscues, a torrent of dirty sex jokes that only reinforced the (wrongful) impression that we’re only about sex and sleaze, and a monologue that went beyond poking fun at the industry and was more like a spit in the face. And then there were two buck-naked streakers, flashing their dangly bits for all to see, that put the icing on the biscuit.

Yes, like an adolescent, the Streamys reached too far, attempted to do too much, and veered horribly off course. We know better, the producers seemed to say, as they flouted conventional wisdom by trying to load in, build sets and launch without setting aside a day for rehearsals. I’m not sure how the steady stream of bad-boy vulgarity got approved, but clearly someone was asleep at the wheel here as well.

So we wrecked Dad’s car. And there will be repercussions. We’ve got to repair the damage we caused, take responsibility for our actions, and make both amends and reparations.

We’re grounded, certainly, for at least six months. During that time we need to reflect on our actions, find new resolve to do the right thing, and do what we do best: develop and launch a broad array of entertaining and informative shows, build new audiences and communities, and strive to put this accident behind us. We’ve got a lot of trust to rebuild, with the sponsors who had their names and brands attached to the event, to the show creators and supporters who abandoned the theater mid-way through the four-hour show in disgust, and the viewing public.

But just as teens tend to learn the most from hard lessons and abject failures, our adolescent industry will come to a new maturity from this. We’ll take our lumps, learn our lessons, and not fall prey to hubris, over-reaching, insolence and potty-mouth humor. Well, at least less of the latter.

Because next year’s Streamy Awards will be better, I know. Growing up is hard; an uneven, rocky road. But often the best adults come from the most unruly, and irresponsible kids. The web TV industry has a lot of growing up to do – but in the end we’ll be a better industry because of it.


(star wars pix from Jace Hall, car from


Rob Greenlee April 13, 2010

I agree that the Streamies did a disservice to the web TV industry on Sunday night. The attempt to be edgy backfired and was a dissapointing effort. I was impressed by parts of the show, as it was not all bad. The nudity, vulgarity and insulting humor can be easily removed from the show. The production can be fixed by doing day before rehersals.

I think we can reach a balance that makes sense for this event. The other thing that bothered me was that the event tried to be too much like the Emmys or Golden Globes. I think we need to think different and be more authentic and a little more like the SAG, VMA’s or Webby Awards.

The show needs to entertain and I thought that it did in many parts. The audio in the live stream was very poor for large parts of the show and can be corrected.

I know that doing a show like that is not easy, but if a complicated production cannot be done well then it should be simplified to give a better presentation. I look forward to watching a more mature and professional production next year.

modelmotion April 13, 2010

One really needs to wonder who thought this would go over well?

We have long called for more transparency in terms of how the @IAWTV is run and how it makes decisions. The IAWTV needs to engage in an active dialogue moving forward. The organization needs to open itself up to a frank discussion with the entire web series community.

The @IAWTV cannot or should not continue to act as a closed “society” because in the end it is accountable to the entire web series community and we have just seen what happens if we just let those in power “run with the ball”. Like it? No? Then we need to see a total change in the way the @IAWTV is run.

I think we can be pretty sure that the majority of the members and possibly even some on the Board of Directors of the IAWTV had little knowledge of what was going to happen. That does not make them any less accountable.

Those who did not like what happened need to step forward and work with the community at large to foster the change that is needed. We can move forward and we can make things better but only if there are substantial changes in how the IAWTV is set up and operates.

An apology is only as good as how well the person making it understands and articulates exactly what they did wrong. So far there has been little more than lip service. We need accountability and that begins with those responsible stepping forward and telling us how things went SO far wrong.

Then there needs to be changes. BIG changes. The day of brushing things under the IAWTV carpet is over. We are a world wide community and we need to take our genre back and make sure that this organization aligns itself with the entire community… not just an insider faction.

Casey McKinnon April 13, 2010

In all honesty, this is the awards show you get from n00bs in the industry who haven’t been around as long as you and I. So disrespectful…

I, too, wrote a blog post about this, but tried to focus on the best parts. I, personally, need a breather first… then, I need to make sure the IAWTV takes control over next year’s Streamys. One thing at a time.

Jimmy April 13, 2010

Attacking the monologue, seriously?…Did any of you see Chris Rock Host the Oscars or VMAs? How about Ricky Gervais host the Golden Globes. Sarah Silverman at the Movie Awards. Why stop their think back to any host on any award show. They take the piss out of the audience. It’s technically a “roast” of the field and players within it. That’s why they have comedians and not dramatic actors host award shows.

I agree with most of the other points about the disaster that was THE STREAMYS but I’ve seen this quite a few times. We need to have a sense of humor about ourselves.

Do you really think that Meryl Streep thought it was a spit in the face when Steve Martin called her a loser at the Oscars? Or is it a joke.

Ned Canty April 13, 2010

Great post, Jim. Like you, I think that this might sting less given the passage of time.

While I understand the frustration of all involved, and share it to some extent, in the end I can’t help feeling that the concern that a single awards show or event can derail a movement as multi-threaded and vigorous as online video/web TV/New Media/What-have-you betrays a lack of faith in the movement itself. There is simply too much momentum.

Mistakes were made. I have full confidence that the message has been heard loud and clear and that next year will be better. Perhaps it is time to curtail the public floggings and start phase 2 of the post mortem?

Christina Brown April 13, 2010

Agreed. Mistakes were made and we need to learn from our mistakes. When I wrote my blog post, I posted it minutes after the show was ended. It was poking fun at the awful way the producers of the shows could not produce a well-deserving show for all nominees. Now I know that this incident is serious. Jokingly, I wished Kanye West would have came out of the audience and interrupted the whole scene. At least he would have told the truth.

ElecMus April 27, 2010


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