It's that time again. That special time when the TV academy reveals its Emmy nominations, and this year, the spotlight is on Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). In a historic moment for television, Netflix grabbed 14 Emmy nominations for its shows, including best drama for its original series House of Cards. The fact that Netflix was nominated at all signals a major shift in the television industry at large. In the past, Emmy nods were reserved for more traditional programming outfits such as Time Warner's HBO.

Even if Netflix doesn't end up winning any of the primetime awards it's been nominated for, it offers proof that the Netflix model works. Digitally distributed content and streaming video is finally being recognized as a legitimate rival to content aired on traditional broadcast or cable networks. While being nominated won't immediately translate into profits for Netflix, it could boost the company's subscriber base.

And the winner is...
Netflix's investments in original content this year have already attracted new subscribers. In the quarter when Netflix premiered its first original series, House of Cards, the company pulled in 2 million new subscribers. This is a great indication of the power of original shows, particularly since subscriber growth is Netflix's bread and butter.

I suspect even more viewers will become Netflix subscribers thanks to the recent Emmy buzz. However, Netflix is still markedly behind cable networks like HBO and Showtime. To be sure, HBO snatched 108 nominations across its lineup of hit shows. Going forward, Netflix will need to continue cranking out hit shows if the video-streaming giant hopes to truly challenge pay-cable TV operators like HBO.

For now, what the Emmy's mean to Netflix is simple: subscriber growth. At last check, Netflix had 29 million subscribers in the U.S. However, for more insight into Netflix's viewership, we'll have to wait until Monday, when the company reports earnings.

Fool contributor Tamara Rutter owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.