The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has found a new, permanent telecast home for the Daytime Emmys: Its own site. NATAS is launching a streaming service that will serve as the place to watch the Daytime Emmys and its other awards shows.
The new over-the-top platform is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2020, several months before the Daytime Emmys take place. The service, which doesn’t yet have a name (but will likely include “Emmy” in its title), will be unveiled in time for the Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards in April, and the Sports Emmys in May, both of which are administered by NATAS.
But the real utility of the new streamer will come on June 12, 13 and 14, when the 47th Daytime Emmy Awards are held at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, Calif.
The Daytime Emmys used to be a broadcast mainstay, rotating between ABC, NBC and CBS in its heyday. But NBC dropped out after 2004, and ABC after 2008. The CW aired it in 2009, and then CBS aired it in 2010 and 2011. After that, HLN picked it up for two years, and Pop TV ran it in 2015 — the last time it was on linear TV. Since then, the Daytime Emmys has run on a mix of YouTube, Facebook, Periscope and something called KNEKT.
Now, with the new over-the-top app, NATAS president and CEO Adam Sharp said viewers would have a clear idea where to watch the Daytime Emmys and its other awards shows.
“We were making it available on PCs and mobile in a clunky way,” Sharp said. “But with the Emmys OTT app available on any platform, if you want to watch on your phone you can watch on your phone. You want to watch on your TV, you can watch on your TV. And really be accessible to the audience. Wherever they are consuming the shows, we’re on it.”
Sharp said NATAS is currently building out the OTT app in order to be available on web, mobile, and major settop platforms including Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Fire stick and Android TV.
Besides daytime, sports and tech/engineering, other Emmy awards shows that NATAS administers include News & Documentary, as well as regional awards in most of the country (except Los Angeles). The L.A.-based Television Academy, which handles the Primetime Emmy Awards, is not involved in this new OTT service, but has been briefed on it.
Sharp said the new service will also include past awards ceremonies, as well as clips from the NATAS archives. “Certainly on our social channels since the beginning of the year you’ve started seeing a couple of hints of that, some of these great moments being pulled from the Emmy archives like Ellen DeGeneres’ first win in daytime,” he said. “Or Rosie O’Donnell and Elmo bantering about wanting to rename it the ‘Daytime Elmos.’ Mr. Rogers doling out life lessons from the stage as he accepts his lifetime achievement award.”
The NATAS app will be free and, at least initially, not contain commercials. “It is going to be there as a resource,” Sharp said. “Long term, I think we certainly see opportunities for ad support and/or sponsor support. That is not in the plan for launch day. I think our focus right now is really on building the content and building the audience. Then we’ll look at the monetization path down the road. There are certainly opportunities for it, and it’s something where in the engineering we are baking in. Monetization is not the focus, at least for 2020.”
NATAS is also producing original shorts, including its first entry, “Behind the Emmy.” “For this series of shorts we are combining backstage interviews, onstage acceptance speeches and some of the actual submitted content to really tell the story of the excellent creativity and production work that goes into winning that most coveted honor of excellence in television,” Sharp said.
The first installment, which posted today on NATAS’ social outlets, looks at PBS’ “Wildland,” a “POV” production that won a News & Doc Emmy last year. “The filmmakers literally learned to become fire jumpers in order to make this film,” he said. “Where they would jump into the burning region with the firefighters, actually help fight the fire, hold the hose, and then put the hose down, pick up the Red camera and start shooting some of it.”
Sharp notes that the OTT service will be a work in progress: “I think once we get out of the gate and start seeing what the audience responds to, that will inform the strategy considerably. But it all leads back to that core mission of the Academy, which is to recognize and foster excellence in television. There is nothing in the mission statement that says, you should only do that one night a year by handing out gold statues. And so, how can we make sure that the shine of the Emmy is putting a spotlight on these talented creators and their creations, 365 days a year, not just that one night, while also providing something for the fans.”
Here’s a look at “Wildland”:
"We actually became firefighters to make the film."
— News & Documentary Emmys (@newsemmys) February 11, 2020