Emmy’s New Groove

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Thank you Television Academy (some what sarcastically) for making history yesterday with your Emmy nominations; specifically your nine nominations to the Netflix series House of Cards. And while you showed no love to the freshman comedy hit The Mindy Project, I do hope that with both Tina Fey and Amy Poehler nominated this year that either Fey or Poehler will try to accept the award for the other if one wins.

But back to House of Cards. Apparently, “digital” or “broadband” programming has been eligible to receive Emmy nominations for the past seven years but it was only recently with the success of House of Cards and the resurfacing of Arrested Development that these digitally distributed shows had an actual chance. That being said, I wondered, does that mean any and all web-based series could be nominated? And so, I went down a minor research rabbit hole.

After quickly glancing through the Emmy Rulebook, I concluded that a web-based series can in fact be nominated as long as it’s distribution channel makes up for at least 50% of the market share in US households. The PDF states,

“Programs (and individual achievements within them) are eligible for nomination if they were originally aired or originally transmitted during the eligibility year of June 1, 2012 – May 31, 2013 in any primetime period (6:00 PM – 2:00 AM) (i) by broadcast to at least 50% of the total potential U.S. television audience or, (ii) by pay/basic cable transmissions (including by way of example so-called basic cable, pay cable, pay television, pay-per-view, interactive cable and broadband) to markets representing at least 50% or more of households in the United States.

Concurrently I researched Netflix’s market share compared to such streaming services as HuluPlus and Amazon Prime and found that Netflix’s claim on American households is a whopping 89% with HuluPlus only at 10% and Amazon Prime with 2% according to BGR via The NPD Group’s statistical findings. So if I understand this correctly, any web based series worthy of any Emmy can be nominated as long as its distribution channel makes up for a 50% market share within American households. That being said, I wonder if even that rule will change given the quality of programming emerging from Amazon with it’s political satire Alpha House starring the likes of John Goodman and Matt Molloy with a special appearance by Bill Murray.

I’m not quite sure what the future holds for the Television Academy and how we make, distribute and watch our beloved shows, but all I know for sure is that times are a changing and that this new wave of media consumption provides more opportunity for the creatives and suits on all fronts.

The 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sunday, September 22 on CBS.

PS: How are Juliana Marguiles and Archie Panjabi not nominated for The Good Wife?

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