Yesterday I was discussing how awards and award shows play an important role in supporting any media ecosystem.
A clarification first: Award shows are a profitable enterprise in and of themselves. So to call them purely a “supporting” role is probably unfair. That said, in reference to the content value chain (concept > production > distribution > engagement), awards play a supporting role.
The second supporting ecosystem is creative education. This serves the only side of the ecosystem where creators are the customer (concept / production). Creative education institutions - e.g. film schools, arts schools - create a healthy supply of talent once an industry has matured.
The best of these schools measure success by how quickly they get students placed into work environments soon after their degrees are done. This ensures they are a healthy member of the creative environment.
When creatives in any field are successful and find fame, it inspires younger people to follow in their footsteps. This often starts with the creative education provided by these schools. The internet has changed how people are being educated altogether, so while these schools might not be as relevant as before - the value of education definitely is.
So while the value chain narrative for media revolves around production and distribution, we need to recognize it is only possible with creative education and award shows.