Web Shows: Understanding Independent Media

Web shows have created a huge trend the last few years. This comes as no surprise, since the Internet has become an indispensable part of our lives. Marshall McLuhan said that the "Medium is the message," referring to the influence of TV in our lives - even more than the message itself. Independent media uses the Web to increase their power and influence on the users and the world, introducing the sense of alternative media. The web is a communication medium with a huge impact to the world.

Why Independent Media Online?

The dot com boom was associated with the media people's efforts to control the medium. In fact, this effort was so furious that they forgot the unique characteristics of the Web, along with its weaknesses and inherent strengths. The independent media came to fill this void. They understood the power and the characteristics of the Web and developed an alternative network which allowed them to communicate their message. In most developed countries, independent media came as an alternative to the government owned and controlled media, without a biased character.

Independent media can also be biased some times, but still they are significantly different. This is why independent media managed to create and develop alternative web shows that were different than the mainstream ones. What started as alternative became independent - trying to avoid the connotation of self marginalization that usually goes with the word alternative.

Web Shows and Media

Web runs on a computer and electronic platforms, but the essence of web is the communication of people with each other using the computer technology. The Media understood that the web was the ideal medium to spread their message using the viral system, therefore web shows and series became something like an emerging communication trend. 
 
The rise in web popularity and the undoubted improvement in streaming technology lead to the production and distribution of web shows that were relatively inexpensive and easy to make. Producers saw the chance to reach a global audience, regardless of boundaries, limitations and time frames. The emerging potential of web shows was so big that the few independent creators became popular and famous in no time, catching the eyes of top producers and executives of mainstream media. What was interesting was the direct connection and collaboration between mainstream and independent media that occurred through the Web experience.

Both independent media and mainstream corporate groups have been able to distribute their web shows through the major platforms and video sites, such as Vimeo, YouTube and Blip. 

The Development of Web Shows

Since 2004, numerous independent web shows began to gain popularity online. The most notable ones were the Red vs. Blue, which distributed by YouTube. Another popular web show is Sam has Seven Friends, which was even nominated for an Emmy Award. Since then, web shows have been gaining notoriety and now there are numerous shows created by Independent Media services and experts, such as Prom Queen, Dorm Life, MySpace Road Tour and LonelyGirl 15. The success and popularity of these web shows and independent media lead to the birth of web show awards, known as the Streamy's, that acknowledge the quality of web shows today.