In recent years, there’s been some discussion about if streaming service movies should be allowed in contention for Oscar wins. It’s a large debate with even some big-name directors jumping in with their thoughts.
But no one batted an eye when streaming service shows made their way into the Emmys.
It’s no secret to anyone reading this blog that as much as I love TV and do use streaming services (and do enjoy many original shows and movies from them), I’m not thrilled with the general direction that TV is going. I’ve spoken before about how Netflix is on thin ice and how I feel that expectations are not met from streaming services, but today I really wanted to look at the Emmys in particular. I know this year’s Emmys were a month ago, so the nominees and results are not at the top of your mind, but I’d like to bring it back into focus a little.
In a normal non-pandemic year, I watch a lot of TV, but I won’t pretend I have superior taste and everything I watch deserves awards. I will also not pretend I know everything about how a show/actor gets nominated or voted for. But what I do know is that streaming shows are completely overtaking the awards, creating almost an elitist environment amongst the viewers, and I’d imagine between the actors and networks too.
I have only a little shame in admitting that I’ve seen Apple+ shows and HBO shows and Hulu shows despite not paying for those platforms (not that I could pay for Hulu anyway given how Canadian I am). I understand cable is expensive and people are moving away from that traditional means of TV, but I just simply don’t think it’s fair or reasonable that if people want to watch Emmy winning or even nominated shows, they likely have to subscribe to not just one or two but around six streaming services. Even if you do the math and say that all the services combined are still cheaper than cable (which I believe, again, given how Canadian I am), it’s still an inconvenience and I don’t like how that’s supposed to be an option. Broadcast channels are mostly free if you have an antenna or something, are they not?
But that’s my opinion (shoutout to anyone who heard the Vine in their head) so I also wanted to show some numbers to get this point across. Here are screenshots of Emmy winners from 2006-2010 and 2016-2020 that I colour coded by platform. These are only the biggest awards, but I can assume that similar ratios are found if you looked at all the winners.
I count HBO as a streaming service—even though it wasn’t considered one a decade ago—because it was a premium add-on that you were paying extra for specifically. So, as you can see, in the span of a decade, streaming services really have taken over, going from 6% of the winners to 72%. Even if you combine broadcast and cable, it still doesn’t compete.
And before you say, “well, so streaming services won, but surely other broadcast/cable shows were nominated“…here are the 2020 nominees for the same seven categories.
Streaming takes up 58% of the nominees, which isn’t that bad, but still. Especially considering that it’s not like broadcast has been putting out less content since. There are still full lineups of shows, some of which I believe to be quality, that aren’t getting any recognition.
I will say, because I’m not a completely negative person, that it does seem that since there is so much more content in competition there are fewer repeat winners, and I do like that the success is spread around.
Perhaps there needs to be a separate award show for streaming content (which would solve the Oscar issue too) or separate categories for that kind of content.
Or maybe no one else but me cares about this.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on this, though, even if you don’t watch the Emmys.
Related but unrelated: what are your thoughts on ‘movie’ actors starring in a limited series or shorter streaming shows and winning over the people whose whole careers have been mostly in TV?
That’s all for now!