What the Emmys Told Us About the Business of Television

In this MarketFoolery podcast segment, host Chris Hill and Stock Advisor Canada's Taylor Muckerman consider the state of the small-screen universe as reflected by the 2017 Emmys: HBO took home 29, and Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) 20, but NBC snagged 15, Hulu got 10, and ABC walked off with a respectable seven. Hulu may have gotten the headlines, but broadcast had a darn good night.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on Sept. 18, 2017.

Chris Hill: The Emmy Awards were handed out last night. This is the big night for the television industry, certainly for the creators of television. It was interesting to see the results in this sense: The trend that we have seen over the past few years of non-broadcast television dominating the awards, that held up, although I will say that NBC and ABC had pretty good nights. In terms of who took home the most statues: HBO, 29; Netflix, 20; and then followed by NBC, Hulu, and ABC. Again, good night in particular for NBC. I guess the surprise of the night, to the extent that there was one, was Hulu.

Taylor Muckerman: No kidding. I didn't even know they had original programming.

Hill: That's the thing. Hulu has dabbled in original programming here in there for a while. But this is a really big splash for them, The Handmaid's Tale taking home Best Drama.

Muckerman: First time ever for a streaming service, I think.

Hill: I think that's right. Amazon, for all of their success, and as you mentioned with the Fire Stick, it's not their lead thoroughbred, and neither is their original programming. But just from a creative standpoint, I think Amazon brought home two last night.

Muckerman: Well, they're putting billions of dollars to work at trying to catch up to Netflix. So it could be one of the main racehorses further down the line. Who knows?

Hill: I think so. Was there anything that surprised you when you looked at the awards? For me, it was absolutely the fact that you had two traditional broadcast networks in NBC and ABC, and obviously with their parent companies being, respectively, Comcast and Walt Disney. I know Hulu is getting all the headlines, but I feel like broadcast TV had a good night.

Muckerman: They needed it, especially when you see Netflix almost doubling its nominations from just a year ago, up from zero maybe about a handful of years ago, up to 91 Emmy nominations, and HBO not too far behind. So they needed a big night, and I think they got it. Whether or not they continue that momentum will remain to be seen for the next year or so.

Hill: I also appreciate that Netflix solved the mystery of the billboards that have been showing up in Southern California that said "Netflix Is a Joke," and they unveiled the commercial with Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres. You talk about them spending money -- they're spending a lot of money on comedy.

Muckerman: Yeah, that, and, speaking of commercials, I appreciated the Amazon NFL commercial where it was the Bears vs. the Packers -- that was their first game, I guess -- and they had a commercial with bears fishing salmon, and then actual human packers fishing salmon, and basically throwing the salmon back and forth like a football. Pretty creative, I thought.

Hill: I didn't realize that their streaming of Thursday Night Football didn't begin until Week Four.

Muckerman: Yeah, it caught me off guard as well.

Hill: I think it was either last Wednesday or, it must have been last Thursday, but I was thinking, "Oh, I think I'll watch the game tonight -- I think I'd like to just watch this on my laptop," and I pulled it up and typed in "Thursday Night Football," and it was like, "Oh, I have to wait a couple weeks."

Muckerman: [laughs] You still have to pay for the NFL Network for a couple more.

Hill: Exactly.

Chris Hill owns shares of Walt Disney. Taylor Muckerman owns shares of Comcast. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.