The Television Academy is partnering with Google in an effort to enhance the viewing experience for Emmy voters — giving them Chromecast devices, which will enable them to stream nominated programming directly to the TV sets in their homes.
“Google is clearly a leader in the technology space, and the Academy is putting a foot forward to show itself as a thought leader,” said Academy president and COO Maury McIntyre. “They’re one of the perfect partners for us to do this with.”
The goal of the partnership is to enable voters to see the content in the way in which it was intended: on high-quality TV screens. Chromecast plugs into any tablet, smartphone or computer and “casts” content onto screens. For voters, this means Chromecast will link the Emmy voting platform — where all nominated content will be stored — to the flat screens in voters’ living rooms. “It’s very important that we enable our members to watch it in the full-screen glory and get a quality experience,” said McIntyre.
The need for the technology was driven by this year’s rules changes, which opened up the final round of voting to the full membership vs. the blue-ribbon panels of the past. “We had to have a way to deliver nominated content to our members so they could view it,” explained McIntyre. “We didn’t want to go down the path of DVDs and mass mailings, and face the issues of piracy you might have with that.” It’s also a far more environmentally friendly alternative.
McIntyre said the Academy had been searching for a digital viewing option, and had already been having ongoing conversations with Google. “They jumped at the chance to show the members this new technology,” he said.
Another reason Google was chosen was its impartiality, said McIntyre, since the company is primarily a technology player and not yet a content provider. “We want to make sure when we display this content it doesn’t seem like it’s coming from someone who’s in this space,” he said.
The devices will be mailed to all 18,500 voting members next month, along with instructions for use. Google will be partnering with the Academy to offer ongoing technical support throughout the voting period. Members will be able to keep the devices after voting ends, as Google has committed to this partnership for several years.
“It’s one of the biggest member benefits we’ve ever given,” said McIntyre. “It’s Christmas in July.”