Wins by Amazon and Netflix at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Television Awards last night provided still more evidence that streaming services are increasingly challenging TV networks. In its fifth year, the awards show had previously given only one series by a streaming service trophies—Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, which racked up four last year. This year, Amazon’s Transparent joined that list, pulling in two awards, while Orange Is the New Black added another to its collection.
With people watching more and more TV online, to the point that online video is predicted to account for 80 percent of the world’s Internet traffic by 2019, streaming services have increasingly focused on creating high-quality original content. Not only did more streaming TV shows win awards last night, together they also racked up a larger number of nominations. Transparent was nominated in four categories, and Orange Is the New Black was just behind it with three. Altogether, that made three additional nominations for streaming series in 2015 than at last year’s awards.
Two shows winning awards may not seem like much, but it’s just the beginning. Netflix’s joint project with Marvel, Daredevil, has proven to be both enormously popular and critically acclaimed, and the company plans to launch 20 new original series each year. Amazon ordered five new series this year, and Hulu recently saved The Mindy Project after Fox cancelled it, while also offering its own original series, like the stoner-meets-Ghost Whisperer comedy, Deadbeat. It’s clear that the pool of streaming shows is steadily growing and streaming services are going for both quantity and quality.
Networks are certainly aware of the fact that streaming is gaining ground. In the last month, industry giants have taken steps to stay competitive. For example, CBS made live video streaming available for $6 month in select areas, and, of course, HBO launched its standalone streaming service HBO Now. NBC even decided to release the new David Duchovny drama Aquarius online in one burst in the Netflix style to appeal to cord cutters.
The networks are smart to make their content more relative online, because streaming services aren’t showing any mercy. As streaming services proliferate further, you can expect this trend of more and more quality content online to garner even more nominations, and awards at the 2016 Critics’ Choice Television Awards, as well as bigger award shows like the Emmys, and even the Golden Globes.