One of my top priorities as Television Academy chairman is to ensure that we always remain relevant and firmly positioned as a leader in our industry.
Television is changing more rapidly than ever, and the vast majority of those changes are related to advances in technology. Thus, to remain relevant in today’s TV landscape, it is essential not only to keep pace with technology, but to anticipate — and be prepared to adapt to — its influence.
Over the past several years, the Academy has done an excellent job in this area, including a successful transition from paper ballots to online voting for the Emmy Awards competition. Since making the shift, online voting has had many positive effects. For instance, thanks to the ease and efficiency of online voting, we were able to extend the voting period, which had always ended on a Friday, to Monday, allowing more time for our members to cast their votes.
Emmy voters took advantage of the additional time, and last year we saw double-digit increases in participation in both the nominating and final rounds of voting.
In addition, we created our own viewing platform, an on-demand screening environment where members can watch for-your-consideration videos prior to voting in the nomination round; College Television Awards nominee videos; Sneak Peek programs; and Emmy-nominated programs and performances prior to voting in the award round.
The viewing platform is available for iPhone, iPad, Android devices, Apple TV and Roku. The online and mobile versions also provide streaming to members’ televisions via Chromecast. And, in keeping with our efforts to remain at the vanguard of technology, to expand outreach with our peer groups and to be inclusive in everything we do, the Academy has revived its digital strategy committee.
Its mission is to provide information and recommendations to the board of governors and peer groups on topics of importance related to production and distribution of digital content. Rather than prescriptive, the committee’s work is informative, intended to serve as a conduit to help the board and peer groups make their own decisions.
The committee includes members from companies like ABC Digital Studios, Google, Hulu, Netflix, New Form and Studio71, as well as several Academy officers and governors.
Its key initiatives and areas of focus include:
• The online membership renewal process and other digital membership matters;
• Thought leadership opportunities on topics related to television and the digital future;
• Opportunities in Academy content delivery to members via major streaming portals;
• Review of awards categories, recognizing the ever-increasing volume and variety of work across all platforms;
• Education of Academy members on television format and platform expansion and its effect on employment, the workplace, production duration and more.
We look forward to providing updates on the committee and its work in the months ahead. In the meantime, as we approach the 69th Emmy Awards on September 17 — hosted by Stephen Colbert and airing on CBS — I want to tout one of the Academy’s most entertaining digital successes.
I’m referring to Backstage LIVE!, our second-screen experience that includes an array of behind-the-scenes cameras, social media integration and much more. This will be our seventh Backstage LIVE! and it gets better every year. Be sure to check it out on your tablet, laptop or mobile device while watching the show.
Chairman and CEO Television Academy