Okay, "wasteland" is a bit harsh. But up until recently the most viewed YouTube video of all time was of little value, in my opinion (Lady Gaga's crazy-terrific Bad Romance music video recently took the top spot). Perhaps with the domination of amateurish content in mind, YouTube and Guggenheim today launched YouTube Play, a much needed initiative to spotlight creative online videos. The event (which takes place every two years, thus their "biennial" tag) will be accepting entries until July 31; approximately 25 videos will be showcased at the Guggenheim museums in New York, Berlin, Bilbao, and Venice as a result.
Here's Google's launch video:
Play looks like a great way to get attention for your creative video, but despite sponsorship from HP and Intel, it doesn't look like there's any prize money or equipment to be had out of the deal. While having your content shown at the Guggenheim for two days is great, I'd like to see a little bit of that Google money shared with content creators; at least the Vimeo Awards have a $25k grant associated with their contest. Still, it's hard not to view the near-simultaneous launch of both initiatives as some sort of indicator that online video is maturing into something more than a marketplace for clips of stupid pet tricks and people falling on their face.
Another video promoting the launch:
Finally, Google's official blurb:
YouTube Play is a collaboration between YouTube and the Guggenheim Museum to unearth and showcase the very best creative video from around the world. To have your work considered, simply post it on YouTube, and then submit it at youtube.com/play. A jury of experts will decide which works presented at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York on October 21, 2010 with simultaneous presentations at the Guggenheim museums in Berlin, Bilbao, and Venice. The videos will be on view to the public from October 22 through 24 in New York and on the YouTube Play channel.