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The Streamy Awards will recognize the best online TV

December 19, 2008 |  5:58 pm

Streamys There are no shortage of online video awards these days. YouTube has theirsYahoo has theirs, and of course, there’s the Webbys -- the organization that gives away so many awards every year that to browse through the entire list of them you have to hit the 'page down' key 50 times.   

But the Streamy Awards, launched today, have only a few staid categories and more closely resemble the Emmys than they do the Kids' Choice Awards. The Streamys’ refreshingly conservative idea is to focus on Web series only--shows with three or more episodes. That limitation instantly disqualifies the giant majority of online video, leaving the organization with little remaining but the material that requires forethought, inspiration and skill. Unlike in the YouTube awards, there won’t be any “Adorable” or “Instructional”-type  categories. So vidoes like the YouTube winner “Laughing Baby” and the Yahoo winners “Cooties” and “Space Toilet” need not apply.

The Streamys also inherit some legitimacy from their creators. NewTeeVee, a GigaOm blog, is the leading tracker of Web TV news, and its partners and Tubefilter are right there too. It's a trio that should be able to find the best that Web-original viewing has to offer.

The call for nominations begins today, and the ceremony will take place in March in Los Angeles.

"The Streamy Awards are open to everything from low-budget independent Web series all the way up to professional, studio-backed series and everything in between," said Tubefilter editor Marc Hustvedt, who added that he thought there were "easily thousands of Web series out there" -- but only a fraction of that would make the quality cutoff for the awards.

Though some of us maintain a healthy skepticism about the potential of a genre whose defining feature is that people watch it to distract themselves from something else, the creation of an award slate might give webisodes the kind of prestige boost they need to get to the next level.

And so I say: Stream on.

-- David Sarno