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Emmy noms show streaming’s growing influence

July 17, 2015

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Online streaming services have been a popular platform for television fans who want to watch shows on demand. Now, their own original programming is starting to take attention away from the big broadcast networks — and award nominations, too.

Nominations for the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards were announced Thursday, with online streaming site Netflix setting a new record for its nods.

With 34 nominations this year, Netflix is catching up to the major networks. ABC and CBS both had 42 nominations, while NBC was right behind with 41.

Popular Netflix shows Orange Is the New Black, House of Cards earned nominations in the “Outstanding Drama Series” while Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was nominated in the “Outstanding Comedy Series” category. Jeffrey Tambor’s performance in Amazon’s Transparent is an early favorite to win in the best-actor category, according to USA Today.

Netflix’s original programs helped make the company an international phenomenon. CNBC reports that Netflix’s earnings beat earlier estimates and helped bring its shares up 17 percent in the second quarter. Driving the bump was an additional 2.5 million subscribers Netflix brought in overseas, bringing its total accounts up to 65 million worldwide.

The money and bigger audience means Netflix should have solid footing to continue producing its quality shows as well as develop new ones. And it’s not necessarily confined to American borders.

Netflix produces Spanish-language programming for the large population of young Hispanic viewers in the United States. It could serve as good model for the company as it looks to expand around the world, tailoring shows for specific foreign markets, MarketWatch reports.

Despite the growing popularity of streaming services, premium cable provider HBO is still king. With the incredibly popular series Game of Thrones, HBO earned an astonishing 126 nominations, the most of any network.

But HBO, and now its premium competitor, Showtime, see the upswing in streaming as well. HBO’s streaming services, HBO Go and HBO NOW, offered without a cable subscription, provide all of its award-winning programming to anyone with an internet connection, screen and a password.

HBO NOW has around a million viewers, though the exact number has not been released, according to Quartz. That’s not even close to its 30 million TV customers, but HBO only recently expanded beyond Apple products, where its shows were only available for the first three months. It expects a bump from expanding to Android.

Its goal is to attract the estimated 10 million “cord-cutters” who pay for internet service but not for television.

Not only has it already grabbed 10 percent of that market in the first three months, but it’s developing a younger audience. The average HBO cable subscriber is 43, but the average NOW subscriber is 35.

Streaming still has a long way to go before it overtakes traditional broadcasting — both in viewers and in awards. But with so many nominations for streamed shows, the profitability of the online model is building. It’s easy to see that both Netflix and Amazon are looking to capitalize and build a bigger selection of their own award winning shows to keep viewers tuning in.

For story ideas, gauge the popularity of streaming services and their original programming in your area. You could even set up an online poll to get readers talking about their favorite nominations. The Emmy Awards are set for September, so keep an eye out for any upcoming viewing parties.


  • Rian Bosse

    Rian Bosse is a PhD student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. He earned his undergraduate degree in English from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2012 and worked for a small daily newspaper, the Daily Journal, in his hometown o...

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