EXCLUSIVE: Netflix, which has consistently been increasing the breadth and depth of its Emmy campaigns since jumping into the race in a big way a few years ago with House Of Cards, is going for it again in a big way with a month long campaign platform called “FYSee” taking place in a 24,000 square foot participatory exhibition space in Beverly Hills beginning Sunday May 7 when the streaming network throws a private kickoff party. Then on May 8 the first of numerous In Conversation events will take place with House Of Cards star Kevin Spacey. ‘
The network says the space will be anchored by “programming and storytelling installations” focused on their new shows The Crown and Stranger Things, both (based on early awards success) expected to become major contenders in their first crack at Emmy. They will be joined by panels and/or exhibitions from returning Emmy nominees and winners including the aforementioned House Of Cards, Master Of None, Grace And Frankie, Orange Is The New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Bloodline and Narcos, along with other new shows Black Mirror, One Day At A Time, Gilmore Girls, Marvel’s Luke Cage, Dear White People, A Series Of Unfortunate Events, the OA, The Get Down, and 13 Reasons Why. Documentary programming will be represented by Five Came Back, 13th, Amanda Knox, Chef’s Table, Last Chance U, and The Keepers, along with other shows like the animated BoJack Horseman and Sarah Silverman’s new comedy special. “Netflix’s FYSee will feature a full month of programming designed to connect industry with the shows, creators and talent they love in wholly new and unusual ways. FYSee will combine diverse, world-class television and one-of-a-kind conversations and events with above- and below-the-line displays and interactive installations,” according to the network.
With so many networks and studios now vying for the eyes and ears of Emmy voters, contenders are trying to come up with unique (and expensive) ways to stand out. The trend seems to be exploring new and fresh approaches to do just that. Amazon just completed a two week interactive event by taking over the Hollywood Athletic Club and showcasing all of their FYC panels nightly in one location over that time period, along with sets and costumes in separate rooms creating a museum-like atmosphere. Unlike that Netflix is already hosting several FYC events at the Television Academy in North Hollywood as well as other spaces on both coasts so FYSee is in addition to those voter opportunities. Ever since it jumped into the Emmy race Netflix has tried to find ways to stand out, from advertising their contenders on valet parking tickets to thrusting Frank Underwood into the actual presidential primary conversation. In fact for the first year of House Of Cards in 2013 they sent out food trucks with free BBQ lunches at industry hot spots around town with the idea of catching attention of potential voters and feeding them at the same time. Last year, in addition to offering three months of free streaming to all 20,000 TV Academy members, they sent out 22 pounds of screeners (I weighed them) in five separate boxes. It certainly had an impact if 54 nominations, running only behind HBO and FX, was any indication of the bang Netflix got for its buck.
With such high profile campaign efforts by the upstart streamers and cable it is getting even tougher for traditional networks to grab attention. You can just feel the frustration at the Big 4 nets in trying to figure out how to compete. FYSee will run throughout May and into June just before ballots go out. It will be a big month for Netflix as they also have landed two films in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival, The Meyerowitz Stories and Okja. That significant breakthrough has caused controversy among French exhibitors who believe the festival should only promote strictly theatrical movies, not those that will be streaming. Clearly Netflix believes the times they are a-changin’ both in innovative Emmy campaigning and at Cannes as we will see during the merry month of May.