September 17, 2018updated 18 Sep 2018 10:46am

Primetime Emmys 2018: Will Netflix knock HBO off the top spot?

By Ellen Daniel

Tonight, the 2018 Primetime Emmys will be broadcast from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. For the first time in 17 years, television network HBO has been knocked off its top spot as most nominated, with shows such as The Crown and Stranger Things earning Netflix a whopping 112 Emmy nominations.

The TV streaming service received its first Primetime Emmys nomination just five years ago, but since it began heavily investing in original content, the award nominations have flooded in.

Hosted by Saturday Night Live comedians Michael Che and Colin Jost, this year’s Primetime Emmys could be the first year that a streaming service takes home the most awards.

This is the first year that Netflix has overtaken HBO. For the last 17 years, HBO has been the network with the most nominations, but this year it has been narrowly beaten after receiving 108 nominations. The next highest is NBC with 78 nominations.

Netflix’s most-nominated show is The Crown, which has 13 nominations, followed by Godless and Stranger Things, which both have 12. However, the two shows with the highest number of nominations are both produced by HBO. Game of Thrones has racked up 22 nominations and Westworld has 21.

This comes after AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, who acquired the network for more than $80bn in 2016, described Netflix as the “Walmart of video streaming” while comparing HBO to luxury jewellery chain Tiffany.

However, HBO has not been out-shon just yet. Last week’s Creative Arts Emmys saw HBO hold onto its crown and win 17 awards compared with Netflix’s 16.

The Netflix effect?

The dominance of Netflix is a reflection of the increasing presence of streaming services in the entertainment industry. Although other streaming services are playing catch-up, with Amazon and Hulu on 22 and 27 Emmy nominations respectively, Netflix still dominates.

Netflix’s Emmy success does not come as a surprise. The streaming service has reportedly pumped up to $8bn into its original content this year, compared to HBO’s $2.5bn spend.

The meteoric rise of streaming has seen others follow suit, with Facebook launching its own streaming service, Facebook Watch, last month, and Apple bagging its first award for original content at the Creative Arts Emmys with Apple Music’s Carpool Karaoke: The Series took home the award for Short Form Variety Series.

The rise of Netflix, and the variety of content it offers, has also caused traditional TV stations to re-think their strategies. In 2016, HBO announced that it was changing its focus from niche programming to content with more of a mass appeal.

Seeing streaming services during the awards season is no longer surprising. The 75th annual Golden Globes saw Amazon’s The Marvellous Mrs Maisel take home the award for Best Television Series: Musical or Comedy, while Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale won for Best Series: Drama.

With 22.2 million Americans estimated to have cancelled their cable services in 2017, this is only set to continue.

Of course, it remains to be seen which of the two will win the highest number of Primetime Emmys on the night, with award show favourite Game of Thrones expected to bring home several wins for HBO, but nominations alone signify that original content from streaming services is receiving its fair share of nods from the industry.

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