Indie Intertube, a transmedia themed blog / podcast released the nominees for their second annual awards show on Friday. The awards will recognize the best in original content on the web, much in the same way that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will be recognizing the best theatrically released films tonight. What I find most interesting are the award categories, and in turn, what they tell us about this new medium.

rcvrWhile the Oscar’s climax with the presentation of the ‘Best Picture’ award what may be the highlight of the Indie Intertube awards is the presentation of the award for ‘Best Transmedia Project.’ While perhaps not as eloquent as ‘Best Picture,’ in the long run this award could represent something far more exciting and creative. A transmedia project is not merely a ‘picture’ or a video – transmedia projects use everything that the web has at its disposal to create a unique experience. RCVR, an X-Files like series, was launched with a themed website containing videos posted by a paranoid conspiracy theorist. The website and the videos create a background for the series and explain story ideas more deeply than the web series alone is able to do. A transmedia project is about using all the tools at your disposal to most efficiently tell a story.

The GuildWhile the video may still be the main aspect of these projects the award for ‘Most Socially Connected’ represents a new expectation for content. Webseries like ‘The Guild’ have a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Tumblr – all prominently linked at the top of their website. Everywhere potential fans may be they are there, and the content on those platforms is designed to take advantage of each ones specific strengths. Their twitter account @theguild links to updates from other related twitter accounts, their facebook page features contests, their youtube focuses on additional content and their tumblr pushes user generated material back to its audience. A show like The Guild becomes so much more than a mere series, it’s a topic, a universe, a discussion, a game – whatever you want to make of it. It is that fan connection that grows a simple webseries into something far greater, far reaching and far more memorable.

BlackBoxTVThat leads me to another award – the award for ‘Best Additional Content.’ Shows like ‘Black Box TV’ are not really shows, and certainly not TV. It is not just that they branch out to social platforms to further engage their audience, it is that their product is more than just a series. In the case of ‘Black Box TV’ it is a subject matter. It is short horror films, it is creator Tony Valenzuela live streaming his night on board the Queen Mary, it can also be his ‘extras’ channel. Where dvd invented the concept of the supplemental, the web is centered around it. In an ad based medium a content creator has to get the audience to spend time with the product in order to make money. One to ten videos may get hundreds of thousands of views each but alone they are miniscule. Producers compete for time in order to keep pushing ad views – the same as on television, only on the web it means everywhere.

This trait probably explains the existence of the award for ‘Best Trailer.’ On youtube a trailer has the potential to be the largest individual revenue driver for a series because you are making money off of ad views not sales. In a lot of ways the hype leading up to a project could be far more valuable than the project itself. In the past creating hype was a cost center for studios but today the table is turning completely and creators need to understand that there is value in your audience at every stage.

Lastly, I believe the current state of web programming can be boiled down to two final awards, the Innovation Award and the award for S(m)exiest Actor/Actress. There is so much room for growth, where this road leads is anyone’s guess – but for now the web is awash with hyper short attention spans and primal indulgences.

The Indie Intertube Awards will air live on March 11th, on The full list of nominees can be found at the Indie Intertube website.