December 16, 2014

Golden Globe, SAG nominations put web content acquisition into focus

Online streaming services aren't just after viewers anymore: They're chasing film and television industry trophies like Emmys, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards. This week, both SAG and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced their nominations for awards to be held early next year, and web-only shows dominated the television categories. 

With nods for series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, Netflix continued its disruption of the network-television paradigm. Facing off against shows like ABC's "The Good Wife" and the CW's "Jane the Virgin," the web platform has successfully produced star vehicles and critical darlings alike. But among the Golden Globe nominees, one show stood out as a new inclusion: the Amazon series "Transparent," a dramedy starring Jeffrey Tambor that proves not just Netflix can compete against industry mainstays. 

For technology mergers and acquisitions, the credibility that creative properties lend Netflix and Amazon make critically-lauded web shows a reasonable and covetable commodity for tech giants to pursue. Not only do brilliant production teams bolster a company's image; now they buy network facetime and name-drops on red carpets, with veteran thespians like Kevin Spacey and breakout web stars like Taylor Schilling, shilling for their tech brands as well as their artistic endeavors. 

Tech companies hoping for a piece of the web-show boom might not have the resources or capability to produce Emmy-worthy drama and comedy series when left to their own devices. That's why emerging brands might look for the long-range promise of production companies that can furnish talent and know-how to take web content to the next critical level. For firms looking to make a splashy statement with earned media and viewer loyalty, web series are the new black.