Netflix took home a total of 26 trophies, but just three tonight. The showings represent nearly the mirror opposite of 2021, when Netflix had 44 total Emmys, to HBO and HBO Max’s 19. See the chart of wins by network/platform below.
With multiple wins for limited series The White Lotus (which had 10 wins in all) and Succession, plus key pickups for shows like Euphoria, Hacks and Last Week Tonight, HBO/HBO Max dramatically extended the 25-to-23 lead it took into tonight. Netflix, by contrast, never achieved sustained momentum despite notable wins for Squid Game and Ozark.
The Korean-language Squid Game became an unlikely global smash and a feather in Netflix’s cap, attesting to its global footprint and unique ability to cross-pollinate across territories. Yet the company’s subdued Emmy showing — months after it netted just one Oscar win from a field-leading 27 nominations — is apt to stimulate more rounds of chatter about its statuette struggles. Outside of the awards realm, of course, 2022 has brought Netflix to a larger corporate crossroads. Although it continues to lead the streaming race with nearly 221 million global subscribers, the company has posted its first subscriber losses in more than a decade, prompting it to slash costs and lay off employees as execs have finally acknowledged the impact of competition in the U.S.
While HBO and its newer streaming sibling have had more creative mojo of late, their path has also had plenty of bumps. In 2022, as presenter Bowen Yang jokingly alluded to during the ceremony, it has made news by canceling a number of shows and movies as new corporate parent Warner Bros Discovery looks to achieve $3 billion in cost savings from the deal.
At 92.1 million global subscribers, HBO Max is ahead of company projections but it also enjoyed the benefit of launching with tens of millions of conventional HBO subscribers gaining access at no extra charge. Territories like the UK, Germany and Italy remain off-limits due to distribution deals with Sky that are set to expire in 2025. A coming merger with Discovery+, home of more-downscale unscripted fare, is apt to make streaming life a bit more complicated, and then there is the puzzle of DC, whose long-term leadership and strategy remain a question. HBO’s resounding Emmy success, in that context, was a welcome throwback to the pre-Netflix days when the premium network took the mantle from broadcast and cable rivals.
The streaming derby has made for a more competitive Emmy race overall, with Apple TV+ and Hulu throwing their weight around. Last year, the scoreboard looked quite different, with Netflix dominating HBO 44 total awards to 19, due in part to the timing of when seasons hit the latter platform. HBO Max launched in May 2020, but it didn’t hit its stride until a year later due to the impact of Covid.
Tonight’s crescendo of wins by Television Academy favorite Ted Lasso, a marquee show for Apple TV+, gives the tech giant yet more bragging rights. Just as its CODA wins upstaged Netflix at the Oscars, having a second victory in two tries for outstanding comedy series helped Apple make another statement in the streaming competition. Hulu also made a splash with wins by Michael Keaton for Dopesick and Amanda Seyfried for The Dropout. While not the pinnacle of The Handmaid’s Tale winning the drama series honor in 2017, the wins pointed toward Hulu continuing to be a factor. Its competitive position and reach are also apt to improve once Disney completes an expected buyout of Comcast’s stake in the streaming venture in 2024.
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