Streaming revolution comes of age at this year’s Emmys

streaming revolution

Let’s see… an Emcee-less Emmy Awards Show? No big deal.

The top awards won by a trio of ad-free networks that you pay a monthly fee for?

Now, that’s next-gen TV. The streaming revolution has reached a tipping points.

HBO, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix took 20 of the 27 Emmys awarded Sunday night, with Amazon (seven awards) nipping at HBO’s (nine awards) heels and Netflix grabbing four more it was a night that showed off the changing of the guard… replete with wave upon wave of commercials between bites of the awards show.

(Even more interesting? A significant portion of those ads were for streaming services Amazon, Netflix and Hulu as well as for soon-to-arrive additions Disney+ and Apple TV Plus.)

ABC+CBS+NBC+Fox = 1 Emmy

The best performance by one of the Big Four networks? NBC took two Emmys for the Methuselah of broadcast TV, Saturday Night Live. ABC, Fox and CBS? All goose eggs.

Can you say streaming rocks? I knew you could.

Even if you count HBO among the traditional piece of TV – and it’s more difficult now that it’s owned by AT&T and is being pressed to create content in quantities that will make it a must-watch daily as opposed to just one or two days a week – streamers still took nearly 50% of the awards (add one from Hulu for a total of 12 of the 27 awards).

And that’s hard to ignore.

A former programming exec from one of the major networks once told me that the joy of commercial-free TV was being able to stay engaged, to watch a story unfold in a more natural way, without artificial breaks to accommodate commercials.

Younger viewers expect uninterrupted TV

We’ve conditioned two generations to watch TV this way. Is there any going back? Not likely.

Moving forward, it’s also not likely we’ll see an end to advertising in our video entertainment. But it will change because viewers have moved past two- and three-minute commercial ad breaks. They expect more.

And, just as it is consumers who have driven the streaming revolution overall, so, too, will they change the way content is monetized.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and onLinkedIn