Jul 192006

Thanks to my friend Brian Seth Hurst for sending this to me and for almost single handedly changing the way Emmy Awards, for one, recognise emerging and I suppose emerged media. This article in LA times is one step on from my posts back in April about the first International Emmy Awards in Cannes – where I talked about how then, the interactive Emmys were a little slim having only four categories, it seems now things are expanding and are far more integrated and expansive…

The academy’s board of governors has approved a change in its bylaws, establishing broadband as a recognized distribution center for television along with broadcast, cable and satellite. Academy officials said this week that they haven’t worked out the details but that drama series, reality shows, sitcoms and other video programs designed specifically for websites may seek to compete in all 27 prime-time categories…This summer AOL plans to launch “Gold Rush!” as a Web-only reality program produced by Burnett. It’s also signed an agreement with Ashton Kutcher’s production company, Katalyst Films Inc., to develop five programs, each with at least 20 “webisodes.”

There are still some details to be worked out, namely should a sixty second phone episode, or a two minute webisode be able to compete with the longer form TV or even cinema versions? Perhaps so, if the experience is what it is about at the end of the day, if 20 million enjoyed the 2 minute versions more than the 45 minute episode should that be reflected. It is awards like this that will inspire producers to consider media properties appropriately for the platform rather than just see mobile and broadband as alternative delivery platforms. Brian is quoted extensively in the article, here is a comp…

“The implications, in my mind, are pretty huge,” said Brian Seth Hurst, a member of the board who has led efforts to recognize “new” media programming at the academy. “It now means that Mark Burnett’s ‘Gold Rush!’ on AOL could be entered into competition against ‘Survivor.’ We used to be the redheaded stepchildren, and now we’re a legitimate part of the business,” said Hurst, who also is chief executive of the Opportunity Management Company in Los Angeles, which helps companies develop cross-platform media strategies.

It would be nice to think that awards in the future are focused on immersion and associated entertainment value so that games and linear forms are not differentiated. What would be the categories in this world? If it becomes genre centered would and educational magazine TV programme compete with a learning event in Second Life, would a fantasy cartoon on a mobile phone compete with a sub-world in WoW or would a psychologial interactive TV show compete with a similar quiz in SimsOnline? There is an interesting road ahead as this pans out and as TV as we used to know it (mass entertainment) merges into the multi-faceted entertainment menagerie.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006