And the Emmy goes to; PewDiePie. PewDie who? That may be the reaction from a certain segment of viewers during the next Emmy awards as YouTube stars begin vying for the gongs, thanks to the introduction of new categories that will recognize digital short-form content.
Although the likes of Tyler Oakley and Lilly Singh are already extremely popular on the Google-owned video service, their appeal is limited to a certain age bracket (18-34 year-olds, otherwise referred to as Millennials, to be precise). The added exposure from the Emmys, however, could be the key to unlocking mainstream success for the digital stars.
Having redefined the short-form categories for this year’s Emmys, YouTube stars could end up winning awards not only for their shows but also their acting.
The Television Academy outlined the changes today, which include the addition of three awards: Outstanding Short Form Series, Variety; Outstanding Individual Actor in a Short Form Series; and Outstanding Individual Actress in a Short Form Series. Additionally, the Short Format Live Entertainment category has been renamed Outstanding Short Form Series, Comedy or Drama; and Short Format Nonfiction is now Outstanding Short Form Series, Reality/Nonfiction.
YouTube, which houses a barrage of home-grown talent thanks to its burgeoning roster of popular creators, has thus far been kept out of the running due to the shorter running times of its content. Meanwhile, digital players such as Netflix and Amazon have increasingly swept the awards in recent years thanks to their big-budget shows, which generally contain episodes that clock in at 30 minutes or more.
Entrants into the new categories must meet a set of criteria that include a minimum of six episodes that run an average of 15 minutes or less.
“Our industry is aggressively, quickly, and creatively evolving the various ways episodic stories are told,” said Bruce Rosenblum, Television Academy Chairman and CEO.
“These category changes reflect the broader opportunities that emerging networks and distribution platforms, such as Maker Studios, Fullscreen, Crackle, AwesomenessTV, YouTube Red, Adult Swim, and others, are seizing in choosing innovative formats that enable our television community to share stories in novel and entertaining ways.”
The expanded short-form Emmys will be handed out at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, a ceremony that takes place prior to the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast.