The Streamy Awards return for their fourth installment in 2014, with nominations open now for all categories. The show, which has grown in prominence as the go-to awards for excellence in online video since it’s start in 2009, will make pivots to highlight new categories of creation that bring into focus the ever-changing world of digital video.
Presented annually by Dick Clark Productions and Tubefilter, The Streamys recognize excellence in online video, including awards for directing, acting, producing, and writing, among other specialized categories. Now entering its fourth ceremony since 2009, the awards are nominated by fans, with the entrant in each category with the most fan submissions automatically becoming one of the official nominees. Last year Chris Hardwick hosted the ceremony, which saw performances from Soulja Boy, Boyce Avenue, and Vanilla Ice.
Since the last Streamys in 2013, several new programs have leapt not only to prominence in the digital space, but crossed over to become pop culture juggernauts. Netflix favorites Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards both premiered after the 2013 event, and have since gone on to mainstream accolades. Their breakthroughs between the lines of digital and mainstream set the stage for a Streamys that could end up feeling more like the Golden Globes or Emmys than in years past.
This isn’t to say the Streamys aren’t closely tied to the Hollywood establishment. While 2009’s inaugural awards boasted geek cred, with works like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog and The Guild taking home top prizes, those projects were also tied closely to known-entities like Joss Whedon, Neil Patrick Harris, and Felicia Day. The most recent awards, which added categories for First-Person Series, Online Musician, Action or Sci-Fi Series, and Personality of the Year, saw accolades go to YouTuber Hannah Hart and vlogform scripted series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It’s likely the pendulum swings back to the known stars this year, although The Streamys newly introduced categories might keep the focus on emerging talents in the digital video space.
For 2014, the award show is introducing subject-area categories that drill-down the genres of online creation. They’ll include Gaming, Beauty, Sports, Pranks, Science and Education, Kids and Family, and more. They’ll also support the changes in the YouTube ecosystem by handing out awards for Collaboration, Public Service, Cover Song, and Indie and First-Person series. The further sub-dividing of types of online video speaks to the diversity of content now being produced and the inability to judge say a performance in a first-person vlog against a high-budget comedic series produced by a studio, while still keeping the emphasis on creators and their fan-bases.
“YouTube’s mega-influencers are now becoming household names, and they owe their success to their highly engaged audiences,” said Streamys Executive Producer Joshua Cohen.
As evidenced over the past year, Hollywood has taken interest in the online video creation space and the celebrities that can capture the highly sought-after youth demographic. One area in particular that has exploded since the previous awards show is short form video content, thanks in part to Vine. The Streamys will devote three categories to the platform: Comedian, Creativity, and Viner of the Year. The rise of instant celebrities in the space has been meteoric, but it’s also an area plagued with scandal, making it a tricky set of categories to in part place in the hands of the public.
They’ll also keep the focus on traditional media by awarding broadcast television series that engage with online audiences through original online video or innovative social media practices. Again, this speaks to the shrinking gap between digital efforts and mainstream success, where popular television shows measure their achievements and advertising lure not only on Nielsen ratings, but on how socially engaged their audience can be. Raking in high numbers of Twitter trends and post-air-date views can be just as important as on-air performance.
“This year has proved that online is the place to be—for both creators and audience alike—as original online programming continues to soar to new heights,” said Streamys Executive Producer Drew Baldwin. “The Streamy Awards are about relevance, excellence, and diversity, which is why our new categories reflect the current state of the industry and embrace the incredible enthusiasm and engagement of the online community.”
Nominations for The Streamys open today and continue through Sunday, July 27. The show will air from Los Angeles in the Fall.
Screengrab via The Streamys/YouTube