In Battle of the Big-Spending Streamers, Netflix Widens Emmy Gap With Amazon

Stranger Things Transparent - Photofest - H Split 2017

In the battle of the deep-pocketed streamers, Netflix widened its Emmy gap with rival Amazon on Thursday as Hulu had its best showing yet.

When all the Emmy nomination votes were tallied Thursday, Netflix finished as the second-most-nominated platform with 91 (up considerably from last year's third-place finish with 54). Amazon, meanwhile, ended up a distant ninth with 16 total nominations — even with last year, when that was good for 11th place. What's more: Hulu, on the back of Emmy-frontrunner The Handmaid's Tale, finished ahead of Amazon with 18 overall — its best showing yet (and up from a mere two a year ago).

That Amazon would be topped by Hulu among the big three streamers is news in and of itself. But when factoring in Amazon's and Netflix's lavish spending during the Emmy campaigning season, that gap is perhaps more troublesome. Amazon, the retail giant that offers free shipping along with original programming to Prime subscribers, reportedly is on track to spend $4.5 billion on video this year — that's shy of the whopping $6 billion that Netflix is forking out to producers — and both streamers mounted extravagant campaigns to support their originals.

Amazon, among its campaigning, took over the Hollywood Athletic Club for their For Your Consideration events this season in what was billed as an offering unlike any that has come before it. Amazon transformed eight rooms in the venue for an FYC event that spanned eight nights in April, each offering a different show on its slate. Beyond standard screenings and panel Q&As, the events included live performances, immersive experiences and more as all eight rooms were accessible throughout the entire run.  

Shows getting the royal spotlight were Bosch, I Love Dick, Catastrophe, Transparent, Patriot, Sneaky Pete, Z: The Beginning of Everything and The Man in the High Castle, while Goliath, Mozart in the Jungle and special An American Girl were also highlighted, though without re-created sets and lavish costumes on display.

Amazon's most nominated program was Transparent (seven), while none of its other programming cracked the five-or-more club.

Netflix, meanwhile, was second only to perennial leader HBO, which even without Game of Thrones this year expanded its overall haul (from 94 to 110). Still, Netflix's impressive gains came at a cost too. Netflix took over a prime Beverly Hills space for five weeks — in May and June as part of what it dubbed a "FYSee" event. Featured in the rental space were the bar from Master of None (eight nominations, including best comedy); the tiaras and costumes from The Crown (13 noms, including best drama); and the bikes from Stranger Things (tied for second with 18 total noms, including best drama), among others.

"We want to congratulate the visionaries whose fresh voices, groundbreaking storytelling and brave performances inspire us daily. To receive 91 nominations across 27 programs is a profound honor," Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said.

Here's a closer look at Netflix's and Amazon's respective nominations the past three years.   

Emmy noms in 2017, 2016 and 2015:  

Netflix              91        54        34      
Amazon           16        16        12