If you’re looking for more evidence of how SVOD is changing the TV landscape, look no further than last night’s Emmy Awards. The 3 big SVOD providers, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix combined to win a record 35 Emmys, up from 32 in 2017. Netflix itself won 23 Emmys, tying HBO for top honors, with Amazon winning 8 and Hulu winning 4.
Netflix’s big winner was “The Crown” which took home 5 Emmys. All of Amazon’s awards were for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” including outstanding comedy series, lead actress (Rachel Brosnahan), supporting actress (Alex Borstein) and writing and directing for Amy Sherman-Palladino. Maisel tied with Saturday Night Live for second place behind “Game of Thrones” which won 9, including outstanding drama series.
The SVOD providers’ success at the Emmys shows that their massive investments in original programming are resonating with audiences and awards decision-makers. To some extent, it’s no surprise; combined the 3 SVOD providers will spend somewhere around $15 billion on content this year. If you can’t win awards after spending that kind of money, then you really need to pack up and go home.
In addition, the narrowness of SVOD’s awards again highlight how hits-driven the business is. Take Maisel out of the picture and Amazon would have come up empty handed. Take The Crown out and HBO would have once again been the top network, with Godless turning into Netflix’s biggest show. In the same vein though, take perennial winner Game of Thrones out and where would HBO be for the last number of years?
Broadly speaking, SVOD’s continued success at the Emmys underscores how much more competitive the TV landscape has become - and will become going forward. Amazon, Netflix and Hulu all have deep pockets to continue investing in originals. Amazon has the benefit of Prime’s business model and Hulu is taking in advertising as well for about half its subscribers. In short, SVOD will only be a growing presence at the Emmys going forward.