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Three years ago, Netflix overwhelmed Television Academy members by sending out a 20-pound shipment of DVD screeners. It was an exercise in excess, as insiders suggested that the streamer spent as much as $4 million to produce and ship the multiple boxes.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos hated the idea of sending out these DVDs, which seemed like the antithesis of how audiences actually consume his company’s content. When asked last year what he would change about the Emmy race, he didn’t hesitate to respond: “The inefficiency of sending all those DVDs.” Streaming, he said, was the “practical, logical” answer for Emmy voters to catch up on contenders.
Netflix - Nothing - Time - Everyone - Sarandos
Yet if Netflix wasn’t going to stop sending them out, nothing was going to change any time soon. “Everyone else does,” Sarandos said last year. “We’re just trying to remain competitive.” It was a game of Screener Chicken, and no one wanted to blink.
That’s where the TV Academy decided to step in. “It was going to be hard for the industry to do it on their own,” said one Academy insider. “No one was going to be the first to do it. But it was outrageous how much money was being spent. So we started asking the question a year and a half ago, what would it mean if the TV Academy were to say no more?”
Meetings - Constituents - Screener - Process - Months
Numerous meetings with all the key constituents affected by the screener process had been held in recent months, and the reaction was nearly unanimous: Chuck ’em.
Additionally, with new chairman Frank Scherma, who campaigned on a platform of bringing new ideas and energy to the 25,000-member group, the screener issue was one he could address swiftly.
Publicist - Netflix - Flood - Screeners - Companies
One publicist noted that, ironically, it might have been Netflix’s flood of screeners that spurred other companies to lobby for the change —...
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