Golden Globe nominations are out, and it's looking like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) could be a big winner.
The streaming giant's original programs garnered a vast array of nominations -- more than Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) premium channel, HBO. Although the Golden Globes are traditionally viewed as less significant than the Emmys, the nominations are a testament to the quality of Netflix's content.
The 2016 Golden Globes
The 73rd annual Golden Globes Awards will be held on Jan. 10. While the Oscars focus on films, and the Emmys center on television, the Golden Globes celebrate both mediums, dolling out some 25 awards across a wide variety of categories.
In total, Netflix received eight nominations -- the most for any television network. Orange Is the New Black was nominated for best comedy series; Narcos for best drama. Netflix's reach wasn't limited to television, however. Idris Elba was nominated for best supporting actor for his work on Netflix's original film Beasts of No Nation.
HBO came in second, with seven nominations. Popular favorites Game of Thrones and Veep were nominated for best drama and best comedy, respectively, and Oscar Isaac and Julia Louis-Dreyfus were nominated for their work in HBO's series.
Time Warner's premium cable network often flaunts the awards it wins: In the past, it's released special highlight reels following award ceremonies where it was particularly dominant. Rivals have done the same. Last year, Amazon updated its homepage to celebrate the fact that its original series Transparent won the Golden Globe for best comedy.
Unlike traditional networks, the fate of Netflix and HBO do not depend on sheer ratings. Instead, both services must expand and retain a large base of subscribers. To do so, both need high-quality, exclusive content. Obviously, it's difficult to measure the quality of a series objectivity, but awards can provide some degree of insight.
Netflix's bet appears to be paying off
Critics generally regard the Golden Globes as less reputable than other awards, as the awards show has a history of unusual selections. Last year, its pick for best drama -- Showtime's The Affair -- didn't receive a single Emmy nomination. For that reason, even if Netflix takes home more awards than HBO next month, it likely won't be seen as a massive upset.
Regardless, it's a testament to the strength of Netflix's original content. In total, Netflix released 16 scripted shows in 2015, three of which garnered Golden Globe nominations. Netflix plans to nearly double that figure to 31 in 2016. Netflix is also working on feature films, kids' shows, documentaries, and stand-up specials. "This is quality stuff," Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos was quoted as saying at a UBS Media Conference earlier this month.
If things go according to plan, Netflix could eventually overwhelm HBO. Time Warner's premium network broadcast only 12 scripted series in 2015 (though it did release several acclaimed miniseries as well). Admittedly, 2015 was somewhat of a down year for HBO -- it will add three new dramas and about half a dozen new comedies to its lineup next year, while expanding into children's programming -- but it won't be able to match Netflix in terms of sheer volume.
In time, that should give Netflix an edge when it comes to award shows, and it could translate into more subscribers and lesser churn. HBO has long been seen as the home of the best content, but with Netflix garnering an increasing amount of critical praise, the dominance of Time Warner's network may be coming to an end.
Sam Mattera has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon.com and Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Time Warner. 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.