How will Streaming Change the Emmys?


5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian comments on the future of Streaming Live Events.

The continued success of streaming video content has many traditional TV networks trying to figure out how to jump on the bandwagon without destroying their current, profitable business model. The NFL recently announced a deal to stream Thursday Night Football on Twitter, and many NCAA games are available to watch on ESPN3.

Meanwhile, many new popular shows are only available through streaming services. Netflix and Amazon are fighting tooth and nail against each other and against traditional networks for recognition. And it looks like, this year, they will get it.

Netflix has the third highest number of nominations – 54 – just behind HBO and FX. That’s 20 more than the streaming-only network got in 2015. Even Amazon, which trails behind Netflix in popularity for unique streaming content, scored 16 nominations this year.

Streaming content has come a long way in the eight years since the Academy first declared them eligible for awards.

But, to date, the Emmys have not recognized streaming programs for awards contention. But the streaming networks hardly made a blip until the breakout Netflix hit House of Cards blew away network competition to become a darling of both fans and critics.

The strength of Netflix – accessibility – can also be a weakness. Fans don’t have that built-in weeklong wait for the next episode, so, if the show is interesting, they can get hooked and binge-watch the entire series. But, if the series gets boring, fans will give up just as fast, because they don’t have to wait, there’s no “patience pay off” motivating them to keep tuning in.

This logistic is fine with shows like Stranger Things and House of Cards, which maintained huge followings front to back, but it has proven to be difficult for certain programs, like the initially popular Orange is the New Black, which lost fans in the third season for perceived stagnation. To them, not having to wait meant “too much of the same all at once.”

Meanwhile, as the streaming services expand their reach, basic network TV is struggling to find an audience. The last time a major network series – CBS’s The Good Wife – was nominated for outstanding drama series was way back in 2011. Emmy voters still like network TV for comedies, offering nods to Modern Family and Black-ish.

But critics say that will be short-lived as well. Broadcast doesn’t like to take risks, and comedies are easier to pull off as formulas than dramas can be. Fans are clamoring for intense, surprising dramas and heroes who aren’t so cookie cutter. You can’t get that much on network programming.

Viewers can get that on some basic cable networks, like AMC and FX, which have captured fans in recent years with gritty serial dramas like Sons of Anarchy, Justified, and The Walking Dead. What could these shows and these characters do unleashed on streaming TV, where there are fewer restrictions on content? That may be a question the Big Streamers will answer sooner rather than later.

About Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations. He is an experienced leader in the public relations industry with over 20 years of experience. Ronn Torossian has been named as Public Relations executive of the year by the American Business Awards, and has run countless award-winning Public Relations programs.

ronn torossian 5wpr ceo


Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and Chairman of 5WPR, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company’s growth, overseeing more than 275 professionals in the company’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named “PR Agency of the Year” by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world’s most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine’s Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country’s foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations,” which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.

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