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Streaming Media Snags Emmy Nominations

Jul 15, 14 Streaming Media Snags Emmy Nominations

Three Netflix original series have collected 15 prime-time Emmy nominations. That is a record for the streaming media service, but also notable as Netflix shows – unlike those on network TV and cable – aren’t technically “aired” at night. By the very nature of the service, Netflix’s programs can be streamed at any time.

In fact, many viewers like “bingeing” on the new offerings of Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and Derek – the three shows that earned the combined 15 nominations. That has certainly created a lot of buzz for the shows, but also changed the way the programs are viewed.

It also has given serious credibility to Netflix as a programming powerhouse, especially given that a decade ago the company was a successful DVD-by-mail service that then was slowly transitioning into an online video library. Now the service has proven it is truly ready for prime time, even if viewers don’t have to wait until prime time to view the new shows.

What is also remarkable about this is that for many years cable TV didn’t get to compete with network programming. In fact, cable had its own award: the CableACE Award, originally known as the ACE Award (Award for Cable Excellence – so yes, it was basically the Cable Award for Cable Excellence Award, but that’s not the point). It was created by the National Cable Television Association as a way to honor its original programming and served as a counterpart to the Prime Emmy Awards.

Finally, in 1988, cable programming was deemed worthy of an Emmy, and by 1998, the CableACE Award was deemed redundant.

Netflix, by contrast, was able to compete for an Emmy pretty much as soon as it began producing original programming, and likely for good reason. There could be the argument that many people don’t have Netflix, but the same could be said of HBO, Showtime and Starz. Even AMC, which is on “basic cable,” has less overall viewers than the broadcast networks, yet some of its programming – notably Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead – have reached audience levels that have surpassed the broadcast nets!

Awards should be given out for quality programs. The problem – if it is in fact a real problem – is that there is much more content than ever before.

For Best Drama Series, Breaking Bad (AMC), Downton Abbey (PBS), Game of Thrones (HBO), House of Cards (Netflix), Mad Men (AMC) and True Detective (HBO) received nominations. That means, apart from PBS, no broadcast network drama made the cut. Arguably even Downton Abbey is questionable, as it was produced by Britain’s ITV. Also missing from the list was Showtime’s Homeland, which won the category last year!

The networks did better with comedies, however, but not much. The Big Bang Theory (CBS), Louis (FX), Modern Family (ABC), Orange is the New Black (Netflix), Silicon Valley (HBO) and Veep (HBO) snagged nominations for Best Comedy Series.

Netflix finds itself somewhat alongside HBO, which earned a total of 19 nominations, as being the standard bearer of quality programming. It is also worth noting that the season finale of True Detective and the season premiere of Game of Thrones both crashed HBO Go, the cable net’s streaming service.

Between the awards and that fact, it shows that 2014 is truly the year of streaming TV.

Image Credit: Brian McEntire / Thinkstock

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