EXCLUSIVE: Netflix, acknowledging traditional Emmy campaigning is impossible this year especially when it comes to kind of events it has produced in past seasons, is making wholesale changes in its approach in showing off its wares. The moves include going almost exclusively digital, revamping the concept of its FYC events known as FYSEE so they are all now online; altering its advertising targets; and in recognition of the elimination of receptions where food and drink flowed for voters, a $1 million donation from the network and its key series creators to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to support cooks, wait staff, caterers and dishwashers impacted by the changes in the restaurant and hospitality industry.
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The donation is designed to ease the blow of lost income for those workers since taking the Emmy campaign season online means no need for the kind of receptions voters are used to, mingling with stars and showrunners at open bars with lots to eat after screenings and Q&A panels.
In past seasons, Netflix, which has challenged HBO for the overall lead in total Emmy nominations, turned Raleigh Studios into its own streaming Disneyland of sorts, with large exhibits for each of its Emmy hopefuls, big spaces for Q&As and special screenings of episodes, and lots of bars and food stations. These events lured hundreds of TV Academy voters and became a major part of Netflix’s FYSEE campaign (the name is a takeoff on the common industry term FYC, short for For Your Consideration).
Due to the shelter-at-home world this season now finds itself in, Netflix is making some alterations to the format. Launching May 12 is the newly re-labeled FYSEE TV.com. The streamer describes it this way: “An innovative new platform showcasing Netflix’s 2020 Emmy contenders with heightened, 360-degree experiences for voters and guild members alike. An offshoot of the experiential space known as FYSEE, the digital initiative is a content hub that celebrates storytellers, performers and craft artists — and gives an exclusive look at footage, dynamic conversations, thematic industry panels and so much more. Delivering everything you loved about the FYSEE exhibition, now in the comfort of your home.”
Apart from this new digital innovation to reinvent their live events, which have featured in-person appearances by the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Scorsese and Barbra Streisand among others, Netflix tells Deadline it is also making major changes in its advertising buys by shifting from print ads to digital and reducing outdoor visibility — including the many billboard spaces Netflix regularly uses around Los Angeles and elsewhere. With so many people not leaving home, driving is significantly reduced, as are impressions those billboards generate.
Netflix’s in-house publication Queue magazine is also going online. Company sources tell me there will still be some print legacy ads and tune-in notices for premiering shows, but otherwise the move will be away from trade print magazines, newspapers and the like. The near-complete exodus from print is due to the streamer’s belief that most people in the industry are living their lives online now, and that is where the eyeballs go. Certainly that makes sense in terms of what Netflix represents in the digital age anyway. Whether all these changes become the new normal in a (hopefully) post-COVID-19 era in future campaign seasons remains to be seen, but it is clear that awards seasons, Oscars or Emmys, will not look and act like they have in past years.
As for the recognition of what this means for restaurant workers, Netflix VP Original Content Cindy Holland tells us: “Every Emmy campaign is a collaboration, from the showrunners who create television excellence to the cooks, caterers, and wait staff at our FYC events. We’re proud to celebrate and support all of them this year.”
The Restaurant Relief Fund is grateful. “We are absolutely thrilled to have Netflix and their creators donate to the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund,” said Rob Gifford, president of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “With their generous support, we are able to help restaurant and hospitality workers across the country who have been hit hard by this unprecedented health and economic crisis.”
Among the shows represented in the donation from Netflix and their creators are The Crown, Ozark, Stranger Things, Hollywood and Unbelievable. You can read statements from their creators-showrunners below:
Peter Morgan, creator/writer/EP, The Crown
“More than ever it’s critically important for us to come together this year in support of the men and women who have so often catered for us, made us feel at home, filled our bellies, quenched our thirst – and, let’s face it, given us pleasure! I couldn’t be happier to participate in this effort to support them in this uncertain time.”
Chris Mundy, EP/showrunner, Ozark
“The idea of community is at the heart of TV and film — both on our sets and in the idea of sharing stories with the world. It’s the same with restaurants, bar, cafes… They’re places to be together. They anchor communities. And their workers have supported so many of our events over the years. So, I’m so happy to be part of anything that helps hold that spirit together and helps us eventually all be together again.”
The Duffer Brothers, creators/directors/showrunners, Stranger Things
“Each and every year — from the first days of filming to the last day of the awards season — the caterers and waiters in our industry undertake the herculean task of providing incredible food for an incredible number of people. We don’t know quite how they manage it, but we do know that our industry would not function without them, and we’re thrilled to join Netflix in their effort to help support them during this challenging time.”
Ryan Murphy, co-creator/writer/director/EP, Hollywood
“Cooks, caterers and wait staff are the unsung heroes of every award season. There’s never been a more urgent need to support them than this year and I’m proud to take part. I look forward to a time when we can celebrate with them again.”
Susannah Grant, EP/showrunner, and Sarah Timberman, EP, Unbelievable
“We’re honored to join Netflix in supporting the great work of the Restaurant Employee Relief Fund.”
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