Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX ) just won two Primetime Emmy Awards. Is this a precursor of greater wins to come, or just a meaningless haul of technical awards?
Last weekend's technical Emmys included five nominations for Netflix's House of Cards, and the political drama walked away with two wins. One of these, the award for outstanding casting in a drama series, happens to be a pretty good indication of the far more prestigious Outstanding Drama Series award.
In two of the past three Emmy shows, the outstanding casting award and the the Outstanding Drama statue ended up on the same producer's fireplace mantel. That includes last year, when CBS (NYSE: CBS ) network Showtime took home both awards for its Homeland thriller. Curiously, all five of last year's best casting nominees were tapped again this year -- but newcomer House of Cards stole the statuette from under all of their noses.
Now, the Outstanding Drama prize is a tall order this year. House of Cards goes up against almost all of its spectacular casting rivals again, plus AMC's mature and dangerous duo of Mad Men and Breaking Bad. I wouldn't be surprised to see either one of AMC's entries taking the big prize, or perhaps Time Warner (NYSE: TWX ) network HBO's fantasy extravaganza Game of Thrones.
In particular, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes would be pleased as punch to win a head-to-head showdown with Netflix, which he compared to the Albanian army in 2011. And this might indeed not be Netflix's year at the big show.
But the stage has been set for an epic drama over the next few years. Netflix has only dipped its toes in the original-content waters, and promised to do much more of it. The company keeps loose reins on their hired creative teams, and is not afraid to try new concepts in marketing or presentation.
Sound familiar? HBO got its start in top-shelf drama the same way, managing The Sopranos in a similar way. Not a bad role model, if you ask me.
So I wouldn't call Netflix a frontrunner for any of the four big drama categories in this year's Emmy Awards. But the casting statuette is a good sign, and a great start. Original shows are poised to boost Netflix's subscriber counts for years to come.
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