ATAS approves videos to lobby Emmy voters

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has approved the mailing of videocassettes to members touting television programs and individuals eligible in the ballotting for the Primetime Emmy Awards.

The decision, rendered Wednesday at a meeting of the ATAS board of governors, was prompted by a proliferation of unofficial cassette mailings to Academy voters in recent years and similar approaches in the use of vidcassettes to promote films for Oscar consideration.

The action is effective immediately, meaning tapes may be sent out in connection with this year’s Primetime Emmys. Ballots will be mailed to the Academy’s 6,200 members starting June 9, with nominations to be announced July 22.

Under the system adopted by the board, duplication, packaging and postage costs must be absorbed by companies and individuals entered in the Emmy competition.

Donations required

Mailings will be supervised by the Academy, and each cassette submitted requires a tax-deductible donation to the ATAS Foundation –$ 1,000 for a full-membership mailing, or $ 500 for distribution to less than 50% of the Academy, such as selected peer-group branches that vote on certain categories.

One concern about the Academy-sanctioned approach is that it may favor those more able to foot the bill for such mass mailings.

Still, individuals have waged campaigns for themselves in the past, and while studios support programs for Emmy consideration, the award has never had the same direct effect on performance as the Oscar in terms of generating “box office”– which in this case means ratings.

May decline mailings

Each tape must be labeled with the title, airdate and category of each entry. ATAS members who decline to receive such mailings won’t be sent cassettes.

Applications and more information can be obtained through the Academy.

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