Netflix, HBO neck and neck in Emmys race

LOS ANGELES • The next battle in the streaming TV wars will unfold on today's Emmys stage, where Netflix aims to end HBO's 16-year streak as the night's biggest winner and earn bragging rights for its marketing.

Netflix will head to the ceremony with more nominations than any other network, with 112.

AT&T-owned HBO, however, will bring its formidable Game Of Thrones, which scored 22 of the premium cable network's 108 nods.

The two will compete for the industry's highest honours with basic cable network FX, broadcast channel NBC and online services Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, just part of the crowd fighting to shine a light on their shows in a large sea of programming.

"It means a lot to these players, all of whom are in hyper-competition now to attract our attention," said Mr Peter Csathy, founder and chairman of consulting and business development firm Creatv Media.

HBO and Netflix have fought for viewers since 2013, when the streaming service launched House Of Cards, a political thriller that established it as a home for top-quality TV programming.

HBO had long dominated that space with acclaimed series such as The Sopranos (1999 to 2007) and Sex And The City (1998 to 2004).

Netflix has since expanded into a wide range of genres, which helped boost its nominations count with shows such as reality series Queer Eye.

HBO has argued that its focus on a smaller, curated slate of programming ensures quality.

Mr Randall Stephenson, chairman and chief executive of HBO owner AT&T, last Wednesday called Netflix the Walmart of video subscription services, while he likened HBO to luxury jeweller Tiffany & Co.

"It's a very premium, high-end brand for premium content," he said at an investor conference.

So far, the race is neck and neck after dozens of this year's Emmys were handed out at events in Los Angeles earlier this month.

HBO won 17 trophies, including Best Documentary for The Zen Diaries Of Garry Shandling. Netflix collected 16.

The major awards will be unveiled in a televised show tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

According to awards experts, HBO's Game Of Thrones is the biggest competition to Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale for the prestigious Best Drama award. Netflix's entries in the category are Stranger Things and The Crown.

Amazon Prime has a shot at the Best Comedy trophy with The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, as does FX with Atlanta.

IndieWire executive editor Michael Schneider predicts Emmy voters will spread the awards among several streaming services and traditional networks, but that HBO will continue to reign as the most honoured outlet overall.

"HBO has more frontrunners," he said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2018, with the headline 'Netflix, HBO neck and neck in Emmys race'. Print Edition | Subscribe