TV Academy Will Stop Sending DVD Screeners

Illustration: Marek Haiduk

The 25,000-member group is going digital, the first major Hollywood organization of its scope to do so.

The Television Academy is doing away with DVD screeners.

Starting with the 2020 Emmy eligibility period, the TV Academy's 25,000 members will receive digital screeners of projects. The move, which the Academy says it's implementing to "save the television industry tens of millions of dollars and positively impact the environment," makes the group the first major Hollywood organization to eliminate physical screeners as part of an awards nomination and voting process.

The changes makes plenty of sense, too, as many studios have already transitioned to digital mediums and most Academy members are accustomed to watching non-physical screeners. In 2020, screening of eligible programs will take place exclusively on digital platforms hosted by either the studios themselves or on the Television Academy’s viewing platform.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for the Academy to take an important first step to move the industry forward in an area of great concern for both our partners and members, reducing costs and delivering a tremendous positive impact for the environment," said newly elected Television Academy chairman Frank Scherma. "Television has an ever-expanding role as the world’s most innovative and popular entertainment medium, and this decision embraces the evolution of viewing practices and preferences of the Academy’s 25,000 members and the industry at large.”

The Academy’s board of governors have formally adopted the plan in order for the organization to proactively and effectively communicate the change throughout the industry. They plan to help partners and vendors involved in Emmy Awards planning and promotion to understand and assist in the transition. The new policy will go into effect following the 71st ceremony, which is set for Sept. 22.

It's worth noting that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which sends physical DVDs out to voting members, has had issues in the past with leaked screeners online. In 2015, best picture winner The Revenant and Quentin Tarantino's Hateful Eight appeared online and became some of the most-pirated films that week. The copy of the latter was later traced back to Alcon Entertainment co-CEO Andrew Kosove, though the executive claimed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he's "never seen this DVD." Other past Academy Award contenders — including Steve Jobs, Joy, Brooklyn, Room and Carol — have also leaked.