If there was any question as to the impact streaming services have on the future of television, the 71st annual Emmy Awards, which aired last night, provide evidence that they are king.
HBO isn't primarily a streaming service, but the network is a massive player in the streaming game now as well, and it earned a leading 137 nominations this year, followed by Netflix at 117. Most of HBO's nominations (32) were for Game of Thrones, and the series took home 12 awards, including 10 in creative arts categories as well as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Peter Dinklage and Outstanding Drama Series, giving it a great send-off now that the series has finally ended. In total, HBO won 34 awards for the night.
Netflix's nominations were for series like Ozark, Russian Doll, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, and When They See Us for a total of 27 wins. But the biggest surprise was Amazon, which earned 15 wins of its impressive 47 nominations, most notably sweeping all major comedy categories with the British comedy-drama Fleabag - the big winner of the night - and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Hulu, meanwhile, had 20 nominations and won four awards, mostly in creative arts categories for The Handmaid's Tale (available in Canada through Crave) as well as The Act.
Even YouTube and Apple Music won awards, proving that streaming not only represents a viable and affordable alternative to cable and satellite TV, but that the top services are also producing fantastic content that's worth watching.
Frank Scherma, Chairman and CEO of The Television Academy, delivered an inspiring speech during the broadcast about how entrenched television is in our daily lives.
"Have you noticed," he asked, "how our standard greeting has changed? We're still doing the obligatory ‘Hi, how are you?' But we really begin to connect when we ask, ‘What are you watching?" When we ask that question, we open ourselves up to moments of humor, good-natured disagreements, and ‘No, don't tell me. I haven't seen it yet.'
When someone tells you that you just have to see such and such a show, he continued, what they are really telling you is "‘I want to share this experience with you.'"
It's easy to forget in this industry that while we focus so much on the hardware, like LED and OLED TVs, surround sound speaker systems, immersive audio set-ups, networked receivers, streaming devices, and more, what it really all comes down to is content. Without great television series, movies, sporting events, news broadcasts, music, and even awards ceremonies, to watch and/or listen to, and make the beautiful colours, contrast, and fast-paced action that these devices faciliiate come to life, the hardware isn't important. And thankfully, streaming services are contributing in a big way. And they'll likely only get bigger.
Check out a full list of all the winners at the 2019 Emmy Awards at the Emmys Website.
Fleabag, Amazon Prime Video