By Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.
“And the winner is … yet another streaming service!”
Those may just be the words a presenter utters when the 72nd Emmy Awards unfold in September, with Netflix this week breaking the record for most Emmy nominations ever, while one of several streaming newcomers, Disney+, secured a best-drama nomination for “The Mandalorian,” the “Star Wars” spinoff that has made a star out of Baby Yoda.
The nominations reflect the mounting number of people who are cutting the cord from cable TV and flocking to streaming services to be entertained.
Netflix’s 160 total nominations shattered the record for most nominations of any network, studio or platform, breaking the mark set last year by HBO, which came in second in this year’s Emmy nominations with 107. Those two were followed by NBC with 47 total nominations, ABC with 36 and the FX network with 33.
This is the second time that Netflix has bested HBO in the total number of Emmy nominations, and that battle is expected to rage on in the months ahead after HBO’s parent company, AT&T, launched its new HBO Max — yes, a streaming service — in May.
More and More Streaming Lies Ahead
The experts at eMarketer predicted last month that time spent on over-the-top (OTT) video content will surpass 62 minutes per day this year, which is an increase of 23%. By the end of 2022, that number is forecast to rise to 70-plus minutes a day.
There are three key factors in the expected OTT surge, and the coronavirus pandemic plays a large role. According to eMarketer, those three factors are:
• New streaming platforms have launched with an abundance of premium content, fueling increased consumption. Disney, NBC and HBO Max (WarnerMedia) “bring huge content libraries to subscription OTT,” eMarketer notes, while such services as Apple TV+ and Quibi have invested heavily in original content.
• Stay-at-home orders have accelerated growth in time spent with existing streaming platforms. “The average time spent with Netflix will surpass 30 minutes per day in the US this year, up more than 16% from 2019,” eMarketer reported. “Amazon Prime Video, the third most-popular streaming platform after Netflix and Hulu, is projected to see a 19.1% increase this year to nearly 9 minutes per day.”
• As cord-cutting accelerates, more video consumption will shift to subscription OTT content. Says eMarketer: “The cancellation of live sports, as well as growing unemployment, will cause some consumers to cancel their cable subscriptions: In fact, 9.2% of respondents to the Business Insider Intelligence Coronavirus Consumer Survey said they had already canceled or were planning to cancel their pay-TV subscription due to the pandemic.”
There is some good news for digital marketers in all of this as well: The streamers are using their rising revenues during a pandemic to exercise some video marketing of their own.
VAB, a marketing company that caters principally to video marketers, recently reported that Amazon Prime Video spent the most on national TV advertising between March 16 and May 24 at $63 million — an increase of 136% from the same period in 2019.
Hulu lagged behind Amazon at $38.5 million, but it recorded the largest percentage increase in the VAB study at 216%.
Next were Apple TV+, $37.5 million; AT&T TV, $30 million; Quibi, $24.7 million; Pluto TV, $24 million; NBC/Comcast’s Peacock, $21 million; Disney+, $16.6 million, and Sling TV, $12 million.
And Netflix, the leading streamer? It spent just $8.8 million on advertising, but that was an increase of 138% from a year earlier.
Netflix Expected to Continue Its Dominance
Forbes, in recently grading streaming services’ performance during the first four months of the pandemic, handed down a grade of “A” for Netflix in part because of its 16-million-subscriber growth globally but chiefly its “dizzyingly broad mix of shows.”
Disney+ earned an “A-minus,” meanwhile, with Forbes in part lauding Disney for shifting its filmed version of “Hamilton” from theaters to Disney+ on July 4 weekend.
For Netflix, it has been a “monthly onslaught of new releases that proved a difference maker as the quarantine has ground on,” Forbes said.
“Production halts shut down most of Hollywood, hamstringing the launch or expansion of several newcomers at a crucial time. Netflix’s deep, international production pipeline allowed the company to keep posting 50 to 60 new series, films, docs, and specials every month.
“Compare that screen o’ plenty to the paucity of new releases on Apple TV+ or Disney+ since they launched, or the half-dozen of new shows that HBO Max launched with.
”In short, the Forbes report card said, “Netflix is rocking it. Everyone else is fighting for second place.”