Al Gore was just on stage at the Emmys to receive an award for “outstanding achievement for interactive television” on behalf of his broadband “TV” network Current.tv (Gore actually got the website’s name wrong, calling it “current.com”. That website quickly crashed under the load of Emmy-watching visitors.) The presentation of this inaugural award came complete with a lame live video feed from MySpace’s Tom Anderson (is he too good for the Emmys already to be there in person?).
The show wasn’t clear on what exactly “interactive television” is. Its call for entries for the award is somewhat more specific, but still leaves a lot of questions. Here’s their explanation for the three categories they have in this area:
- Interactive television “Program” is defined as a single show, originally aired or transmitted during the eligibility year that is delivered via broadcast, cable, satellite, broadband, or mobile networks, and that incorporates one or more participatory interactive features that enhance the viewing experience.
- Interactive Television “Series” is defined as episodic programming that has been or continues to be available during the eligibility year and delivered via broadcast, cable, satellite, broadband, or mobile networks, incorporating participatory interactive features that enhance the viewing experience.
- Interactive television “Service” is defined as a television network or other distributor of programming offering one or more participatory interactive features that enhance the viewing experience across a range of programs or series, and that have been or continues to be available during the eligibility year and delivered via broadcast, cable, satellite, broadband, or mobile networks.
So an interactive show is defined as a “show” (how specific), delivered by just about any medium, with “participatory interactive features” which are also not explained.
If the Emmys want to get into online videos, that’s one thing. Then everything original uploaded to YouTube could be eligible for an Emmy.
But that doesn’t seem to be what they’re doing here. Instead, they go after the mainstream web publishers like Current, have them pay the $600 entry fee, and then explain to the judges what’s so great about their “interactive” programming:
(Entries must include) A linear / non-interactive video recording that demonstrates the viewer experience and highlights the features and functionality of the interactive television program, series, or service. The video recording must not exceed 6 minutes in length and must be submitted on Beta SP or Digi Beta tape format. It must provide a minimum of either two minutes of, OR the combined total running time of, the interactive elements in the program, series, or service, whichever is shorter, and must include the interactive feature(s), either contiguous or edited, in an order that is closely representative of the actual viewer experience.
The academy needs to decide if it wants to include online-produced video in its eligibility criteria (fortunately, it’s at a point now where there’s still a dividing line between television and online video). If it does, then why not include DVDs, advertisements, wedding videos, or any other form of video? If not, then it needs to stick to television as we know it and stop with the stupid gimmicks.