When the Broadband Emmy nominees were announced in July, we picked some favorites, and last week The Academy has picked theirs. It’s hard to define bests from a handful of gems, but I find myself mostly in agreement with the selections.  Kingsley’s Crossing from MediaStorm — the story of a young man’s excruciating six-month journey across half of Africa in search of a better life in Europe — is among the most moving pieces I’ve seen on any medium.  Congratulations to MediaStorm and photojournalist Olivier Jobard. 

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But, there’s something much more exciting at play here, and something else somewhat troubling. 

This recognition foretells a sea change for television that we’ve long anticipated.  And now, suddenly, we can see it on the horizon.  Brian Stelter of the New York Times notes that “three of the four broadband winners had no connections to a traditional network.”  Television created by independent sources beat out network nurtured and produced internet-TV 75% of the time, which begs the question: are the networks’ massive scouting and development resources being put to good use?  What happens in a world where NBC and MediaStorm are given equal access to audiences? You can guess what I think.

In my post about the announced nominees, I mentioned a  “disproportionate number of ties to established media companies,” and I’m left wondering how the scores of talented independent producers creating content for loyal communities can get on the radars of awards like the Emmys.  The fact that MediaStorm beat out The WashingtonPost and PBS bodes well for independent television producers, but its important to note that Brian Storm’s ability to attract publicity and Emmy nominations are likely due to his association with the Washington Post. 

I’m happy to see that independent production has made such a strong showing in this year’s Emmy Awards, but in order for the awards to remain a true indicator of quality, the nominating committee must seek content from all sources, not just those associated with major brands.

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