By Eric Scott Santiago
The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards has marked a turning point for television. It’s the first time online-only television programs have ever been nominated for Emmys.
The rapid success of streaming video services like Netflix shows that the entertainment industry is changing, but it was only until the Emmys that it became clear what this would mean for television.
At the moment, television and Internet video still complement each other. For example, Netflix helped propel the advertising price for the finale of “Breaking Bad” to well over $200,000 per 30-second commercial.
However, just a few weeks prior, Netflix almost stole away with the rights to produce the “Breaking Bad” spin-off, “Better Call Saul,” from right under AMC’s nose.
But more importantly, Netflix can now produce original content that can take on heavyweights like AMC and HBO. “House of Cards,” was able to secure Emmys against both of them. Considering that Netflix only began producing it’s programming in 2011, this is a significant achievement.
A lot of this success is due to the control Netflix gives its users. Besides the variety of subscription plans, programming is viewable across computers, televisions and critically, smartphones.
According the the Pew Internet Research Center, 56 percent of American adults now own a smartphone. That’s more than half of the adult population that can now stream video wherever they are. Traditional television providers haven’t been able to answer to this capability.
The closest they’ve come are companion apps that allow customers to watch television on mobile and tablet devices, but only as long as they are connected to a home network. This doesn’t answer the severe loss of advertising revenue that traditional television studios will lose if consumers switch to using video streaming services.
In 2009, a report published by Ofcom, an independent regulator of the United Kingdom communications industries, stated that up to 31 percent of UK TV revenue comes from advertising.
Most of this revenue would disappear if consumers switched to video streaming services, which typically don’t show ads–that $200,000 advertising slot may be a thing of the past.
And Netflix isn’t alone. Hulu and Amazon, owners of their own streaming video services, have already begun to produce original content, which begs the question of what the 66th Primetime Emmys will look like.
But it is clear, that entertainment industry will never be the same.