Viral video creation didn’t start with YouTube, but the paradigm changed the instant Chad Hurley and Steve Chen launched their visionary Flash-based video-sharing platform in early 2005.
“They’ve made it something so easy everyone can access it,” says Alison Savitch, chair of the PGA’s New Media Council. “As producers, first and foremost, we are content creators. It doesn’t matter for us whether it’s a 50-foot screen, a computer or a mobile phone.”
YouTube’s influence is so pervasive that everything from cameras to iPhones now come equipped to interface directly with the site, making Hurley and Chen “the most perfect selection” for this year’s Vanguard Award, according to PGA exec director Vance Van Petten. “It’s wonderful timing because we’re seeing such an enormous change in how the product is going to be distributed in our industry,” he says.
Eliminating barriers to distribution, YouTube provides an outlet for filmmakers, both professional and amateur, to broadcast their creativity directly to the masses.
“We are not production companies, AMPTP, studios and distributors,” says Van Petten. “We are a guild of producers as individuals. We obviously want to protect copyright, but we don’t have ownership over distribution facilities, so we’re not threatened by that.”