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Online-only shows don't rate at IMDb
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You are currently in Entertainment, Film and Music, Mobile devices and media
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Tue Sep 11, 2007 5:05 pm Reply and quote this post
Web-based video shows are gaining popularity. So why is IMDb not giving them recognition

Web video series are gaining more momentum in the mainstream on a daily basis. Thanks to being distributed alongside traditional television shows on cross-platform devices such as Apple TV, as well as being made available via on-demand services, internet-based serials are developing audiences equal to – if not greater than – that of some television channels.

Guardian Newspapers wrote:
This year, even America's National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences moved to embrace the new media and started awarding Emmys to original works made for "broadband".

But with many web producers converting to high definition before a lot of broadcast television shows, they're wondering why there aren't more web series listed on IMDb.com, the go-to information site for the entertainment industry.

Kent Nichols, co-creator of Ask a Ninja, says the submission process on IMDb "is a closed system operated by a private company: you have to play by their rules". Since there is no web video-specific option on the site, Ask a Ninja was listed as a TV series. This is certainly a great step in the recognition of web series as a valid form of filmmaking, but it also proves that there needs to be more appropriate categories created for submitting a web series.

When going through the submission requirements, the instructions can be ambiguous. The only reference to web videos is a note saying that an entry is not eligible "just because a work has been digitised and put on some internet page for downloading", which might put some producers off. However, since there are a few web series listed at the site, there must be a loophole somewhere.

"The key point is general public interest," says IMDb founder and managing director Col Needham. "The contents of IMDb naturally reflect the interests of the users of the site because all of the names and titles included in the database are submitted by users themselves."

This means that if a work qualifies on some other level – shown on non-local TV, screened at a festival, stars a well-known celebrity – the web series can, in fact, be submitted.

The people behind the web series already listed on IMDb all have a couple of things in common; representation and prior work listed on the site. They are mostly from a professional film or TV background, which explains a lot since a large majority of the users on IMDb are in the entertainment industry.

Unfortunately, at the moment there aren't many listings. But where IMDB falls short, Wikipedia is blasting forward. With categories for video blogs, video podcasts, and internet television, Wikipedia users are generating their own IMDb-like pages with information on notable web series. A logical explanation for this difference in growth is that Wikipedia users can edit the site for free, while IMDb Pro users pay $12.95/month for an account.

"If you feel that more internet-based titles should be included, the answer is to encourage more people to submit such titles," says Needham

But when given the option to contribute to a site for free or to pay, which would you choose?


Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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