You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

What Is Winning an Emmy Worth?

The rough cost of a top-tier Emmy campaign — the kind mounted this year for Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” NBC’s “This Is Us,” and HBO’s “Big Little Lies” — is $1 million. But the value of winning an Emmy is harder to quantify. The payoff comes via intangibles, such as seeing one’s brand burnished on an industry-wide stage. But some see little value in the awards besides ego boost.

Speaking at Variety‘s Entertainment and Technology Summit this month, TNT and TBS president Kevin Reilly asserted that while “it’s been long held that really in terms of perception,” an Emmy win is a positive, “from a bottom-line business point of view, no,” it has no value.

But in the Peak TV era, it can’t hurt. With more than 500 scripted shows projected across broadcast, cable, and streaming this year, according to FX Networks research, programmers on every platform struggle to market successfully.

“Winning an Emmy is yet another way that a show can leverage something to make it stand out from the competition,” says Melanie Shreffler, senior insights director at Cassandra, a branding-consultant firm. “These days even a critically acclaimed show has to fight for a survival.”

And with more nominees in the comedy and drama series categories hailing from streaming services whose reach falls short of broadcast or cable, the Emmys provide a rare opportunity for broad exposure. Amazon’s “Transparent” and Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” were not in danger of being canceled before their acting-category Emmy wins, but as they racked up awards, their profiles grew — as did the profiles of the shows’ creators, Jill Soloway and Jenji Kohan.

For producers, Emmy recognition is a coveted personal and professional boon. Once a programmer proves that its shows are on the Emmy radar — as Hulu did with eight Emmy wins, including the best drama series award, for “The Handmaids Tale” Sunday — it has another carrot with which to lure top talent and projects.

“The value is not just in what this signals to the audience about the value of the show,” says Michael Smith, professor of information technology and marketing at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. “I think it also creates a great deal of value in what it signals to creators in terms of the value of the platform. I think we’ve seen that with Netflix and Amazon, and we should all be excited to see that with Hulu.”

Likewise, Smith sees risk in striving for Emmys and falling short. With “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu became the first streaming service to win in the drama-series category, beating Netflix to the punch — despite the fact that Netflix is believed to have spent significantly more than any of its linear and digital rivals this season on campaigning. That inability to deliver a win despite such visible effort could have negative impact.

“It was noticeable that they didn’t take home any of the big awards,” Smith says of Netflix. “Does that hurt them with their audience? Probably not. Does that hurt them with creators? Quite possibly. Creators are going to places where they can have the freedom to make great content, but another piece of that is winning awards.”

More TV

  • Name Of The Rose

    Germany's Tele München Group Sold to Investment Firm KKR

    Global investment firm KKR has acquired Tele München Group, one of Germany’s largest television businesses. The surprise deal was announced Thursday. New York-based global investor KKR has holdings in multiple sectors, including infrastructure, energy and real estate. Tele München Group, or TMG, is active in both production and distribution; its projects include the highly anticipated [...]

  • UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report: Women, Minorities

    Hollywood Diversity Gains in TV but Falls Short in Movies

    Minorities and women have registered gains in several key areas of television but women continue to lag in movies, according to a report issued Thursday by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. “My basic take is that TV is improving more for minorities and women than film,” said Dr. Darnell [...]

  • 60 Minutes" reporter Lara Logan takes

    Lara Logan Says She's Been 'Targeted' for Her Claims of Liberal Media Bias

    Former CBS News foreign correspondent Lara Logan appeared on “Hannity” Wednesday evening to expand on her recent remarks characterizing the media as “mostly liberal.” “It’s obvious, right, because you get targeted,” she said, explaining her earlier comments that she was committing “professional suicide” by criticizing the media. “It’s the same group of people, they’re already [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    'Empire' Producers Consider Suspending Jussie Smollett (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fox is considering removing Jussie Smollett from production on “Empire.” Sources close to the production told Variety that producers are weighing whether to suspend the actor after he was charged Wednesday in Chicago with filing a false police report. A spokesperson for 20th Century Fox Television, which produces the series, declined to comment. Smollett’s status on [...]

  • Game of Thrones Final Season: Best

    The Best 'Game of Thrones' Merch to Get You Ready for the New Season

    We’re just weeks away from the premiere of the final season of “Game of Thrones,” and whether you’re a die-hard fan, on the hunt for a novelty gift, or a serious collector hoping to nab some memorabilia before the series signs off for good, we’ve found 10 pieces of merch that pay tribute to one [...]

  • Ryan KadroPaleyLive NY: The News Is

    Ryan Kadro Will Join Quibi to Oversee News Programming (EXCLUSIVE)

    Ryan Kadro left CBS News several weeks ago, but he isn’t leaving the news business. Kadro, the former executive producer of “CBS This Morning” is set to join Quibi, the company led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman that is devoted to short-form  content. Kadro is expected to oversee news programming for the subscription-based service, [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Charged With Filing False Police Report

    “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett has been charged with filing a false police report, the Chicago police said Wednesday. “Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter. Smollett is due to appear in court for a bond hearing at 1:30 p.m. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content