By Sahil Patel
It’s a time of change at the International Academy of Web Television, a non-profit organization for the online video industry that produces the annual IAWTV Awards, which, along with the Streamys, vie to be online video’s version of the Emmys.
The industry body, which was originally created to be the voting arm for the Streamys and later broke away due to issues with the second annual Streamys show, is currently in the process of electing new members to its board of directors. The board limits its directors to a maximum of three terms, with each term lasting for two years. Pretty much every two years, half the board changes. Existing board members who have already departed or are at the end of their term include Jenni Powell, Jim Louderback, Rob Barnett, Mark Gardner, and Tim Shey. Amber J. Lawson, who was the chairman of the awards committee, is also leaving the organization to focus on her social benefit company, Comedy Gives Back. The voting process runs through Sunday, 11pm PT.
Speaking to several people with knowledge of the inner workings at IAWTV, it’s clear that they view this as a crucial time for the organization. More so than a change at the board level, the IAWTV needs to start looking at what role it wants to play in the industry, beyond running an annual awards show in January, according to these sources. There is an opportunity for the board to take the IAWTV to the “next level,” they say. What does this exactly entail? The IAWTV has the capacity to be a “professional networking group” for the industry, as well as an influential educational and standards body. It could also play a greater role in providing financial support to online creators and filmmakers.
In any case, these decisions need to be made by the new board, which one source hopes consists of more business-oriented people than the previous board. “A lot of online and indie creators haven’t worked in big companies, they don’t know how to run an organization,” says one source. “What the board needs is more industry executives. Funny enough, this is the exact opposite of what I would have said during the last election,” which ended up weighting the board more heavily toward content creators, says the source.
So let’s take a look at this election’s nominees, which VideoInk has learned includes:
- Zenophon Abraham, chairman and CEO of Sports Business Simulations and executive producer and CEO of Zennie62Media, Inc.
- Alicia Arinella, president, CEO, and lead producer at On the Leesh Productions
- Steve Bradbury, chief operating officer at Zazoom
- Jeff Burns, NY-based producer and creator of “Super Knocked Up”
- Nick Fortunato, vice president and creative director at Dailymotion
- Jared Hoy, director, cinematographer, and CEO at Producer Electric Hobo
- Jeremy Jones, executive producer at Girl Crush TV and cinematographer/editor at MindWorthy Pictures, Inc.
- Mike Lawrence, executive director, Computer-Using Educators
- Philip Nelson, chief relationship officer at NewTek
- Kent Nichols, director of creator & talent relations at Blip, Ask a Ninja
- John Orlando, head of digital development at Crackle/Sony Pictures Television
- David Schatanoff, producer at D Studios Productions
- Lydia Schoenberger, described as a “programmer, producer, and publisher”
- Bonnie Stone, co-founder, CEO, and executive producer at Butter Studios; formerly at Turner Broadcasting, KCOP, Fox Sports, and ZillionTV
- Dan Unger, head of media network at Yahoo! Canada; formerly at Walt Disney Studios and Fox Filmed Entertainment
VideoInk has also learned that Brent Weinstein, head of digital media at United Talent Agency, is “likely to” replace Jenni Powell’s recently vacated seat. Weinstein has a history with the IAWTV, having played a role in the deal that set the IAWTV up with CES.
If the concern is electing board members who have experience running businesses, it appears the list of nominees takes that into account.
The IAWTV is currently finalizing a deal with a new “conference organization” partner for the 2014 awards show, according to multiple sources. This partnership will be announced following the election of the new board, and will focus on providing more back-end operational and promotional support for the awards show.
This article has been updated to include Jeff Burns’ current occupation.