Yeah, I’m kind of torn on this one.

Today, YouTube CEO Neal Mohan has published an opinion piece in The Hollywood Reporter in which he pitches the case for YouTubers to also be considered for traditional TV awards, like the Emmys.

As per Mohan:

You might not expect MrBeast to stand on the same stage as Jeremy Allen White. But if you think creators are just recording vlogs from their bedrooms, then I have some big news. Creators have writers’ rooms, production teams, and business strategies. They’re developing programming that’s not just popular and relevant – it’s breaking boundaries.

Mohan’s pitch is based mostly on the rising role that YouTube now plays in general entertainment, especially in terms of competing with traditional TV for attention.

Indeed, last year, YouTube was the top streaming platform by watch time in the U.S., underlining the role that the platform now plays in the entertainment landscape. These days, young audiences in particular are far more likely to watch YouTube than traditional TV, and with that in mind, it does seemingly make sense for YouTubers to be considered alongside other TV content.

Yet, at the same time, the production and craft elements behind traditional TV productions still generally outweigh the same among YouTube creators.

Though that’s another element that Mohan is pushing back on:

“Take Good Mythical Morning, a groundbreaking variety program that creators Rhett and Link started 12 years ago. Today they have more than 18 million subscribers. I visited Rhett and Link’s studio last year, and I was blown away by the speed of their creativity and their strategies to respond to viewer feedback. Traditional shows have to wait for their next season to take cues from their audience, but creators can instantly tweak their approach based on fan feedback and sophisticated analytics.”

Mohan’s view is that top YouTubers are taking a professional approach to their production, in the same way that traditional TV production houses do, so they should rightly be considered in the same vein.

But the question then is, does optimizing for YouTube’s algorithm equate to same traditional measures as TV show production?

I would argue that MrBeast, for example, is a great example of creating content for the algorithm, as opposed to generating groundbreaking entertainment concepts, or exploring human creativity.

But does that make it more or less award-worthy? It largely comes down to individual opinion, but much of what’s on YouTube, while it does attract views, is not necessarily created with the audience in mind, so much as it is YouTube’s amplification system.

But then again, you can’t argue with the numbers, and with many top YouTubers getting millions, even billions of views, there’s clearly something to be said for their cultural relevance and impact, and thus, at least in theory, their consideration for awards.

But there does seem to be a misalignment in some incentives, which could skew some people’s perceptions of whether YouTubers should be eligible for traditional awards.

But as Mohan notes, that could also be outdated thinking:

Creators are defining a new era of entertainment. And they deserve the same acclaim as other creative professionals. Some might argue that broadening the Primetime Emmys to include consideration of creators would detract from its storied history or lessen its cultural significance. But recognizing the work of creators is the best way for the Television Academy to continue its legacy of honoring modern culture, while also building a bridge to the next generation of viewers.

It’s hard to argue against that, because whether you like it or not, online media is overtaking traditional sources, in many respects, and eventually, it will become the most influential and important medium for entertainment more broadly.

So yes, MrBeast could justifiably soon be on the Emmy’s stage with traditional TV and movie stars.

And while it feels like there’s still some division between the two, that gap is reducing every day.

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