Netflix Actually Won Big At Last Night's Emmys

Netflix Actually Won Big At Last Night's Emmys
Kevin Spacey arrives at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Kevin Spacey arrives at the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

By one very important measure, Netflix looked like a big loser at Monday night's Emmy Awards.

The streaming network had been nominated for 31 Primetime Emmys, but walked away from the most important categories empty-handed. The company reportedly spent more than $100 million to produce its marquee original shows "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black," which were bested by "Breaking Bad" and "Modern Family" in the Outstanding Drama and Comedy series categories, respectively.

The New York Times hailed last night's awards show as "a win for broadcast and cable television," which is widely considered to be having a sort of new golden age.

Yet not all is lost for Netflix. The Emmys are basically a huge marketing opportunity for television, prompting people to watch shows they may have missed the first time around. New audiences are likely to watch Emmy winners like "Sherlock," "Scandal," "Louie," "American Horror Story" and, of course, "Breaking Bad," which scored five Emmys Monday night -- so a good night at the Emmys, driving demand for quality programming, could send new customers to Netflix.

And perhaps even more importantly, Netflix helped to create that good night at the Emmys. The service, which allows people to catch up on past seasons of shows, also helps keep great programming in circulation.

Netflix doesn't release viewership data, but third-party researcher SimilarWeb said that "Breaking Bad" was the most popular show on Netflix last year. Vince Gilligan, the show's creator, has even attributed the success of his show about a high school science teacher-turned-meth dealer to Netflix. "I think Netflix kept us on the air," he told reporters after last year's Emmy Awards, according to Variety. "Not only are we standing up here (with the Emmy), I don't think our show would have even lasted beyond Season 2 ... It's a new era in television, and we've been very fortunate to reap the benefits."

That new era of television has dawned in part because technology allows consumers to watch -- and binge-watch -- whenever they want. Consumer time spent watching video on the Internet -- through Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Instant Video, and Hulu -- is up 54 percent this year, according to Nielsen.

Many popular new shows, including "House of Cards," "Mad Men" and "True Detective," have succeeded in part because viewers can pause, rewind and watch multiple episodes in one sitting from almost anywhere.

That ubiquitous availability has also helped HBO's hit shows and movies, including Emmy winners and nominees like "Game of Thrones," "Silicon Valley," "Veep" and "The Normal Heart." HBO Go, HBO's streaming platform, has grown 40 percent in the last year to 11.3 million registered accounts in the U.S.

Broadcast networks like NBC and ABC have also joined the trend, making current seasons of their shows available on-demand, according to USA Today. Rentrak, a media measurement company, says that video-on-demand viewership is up 122 percent since 2010.

Investors didn't seem to mind that Netflix didn't win awards in the major categories Monday night (to be fair, the company took home seven awards). The stock closed Tuesday at $479.36, near its all-time high.

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