Why Awards Are Such A Big Deal

Awards have always been important.  Recognition begins early in life with gold stars and trophies or their equivalent.  Just because everyone gets them doesn’t make them any less significant to the recipient.  As we grow older, accolades become more paramount, an acknowledgment of outstanding work can potentially lead to more lucrative opportunities for companies as well as individuals. While the Oscars, Emmys, Tonys and Grammys are among the most well known, every industry has its own awards.  

Because they are highly sought after, awards have become big business in their own right, driving revenue for the presenting organizations via submission fees and generating income for marketing and public relations agencies who are responsible for submissions and campaigning.  Awards have become a year round business for MPRM, as we handle submissions for a broad range of industry awards as well as conduct campaigns specifically for both Emmy and Academy Awards. We have also worked to secure recognition for corporate clients in their respective fields or inclusion in “best of” or “most innovative” lists.

With so much content available to choose from, awards have become more important than ever. The audience for the campaigns is often broader than the voting group as it can help generate increased box office revenue, home entertainment sales, cable and now streaming subscriptions.  The televised award shows are industry promotions for film, television, music and theatre not to mention for the networks that carry them. 

It’s one of the reasons so much attention has been paid to the controversies surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the organization behind the Golden Globe Awards. The 100+ publicity agencies calling for change, of which we were one, did so because the absence of diversity, inappropriate behavior and financial self dealing of the members were tarnishing the awards.  One of the few award shows to celebrate film and television, the Golden Globes were a ratings success because of the stars who showed up because it was the first award show in the lengthy Academy Awards campaign season.  We’re already seeing awards shows claim new calendar dates. The Critics Choice Awards is moving into “first position” for the 2022 Oscar campaign season and the Independent Spirit Awards just announced that it is moving its ceremony up several weeks so that it could potentially impact Oscar voting.

Although it’s never too early for Oscar buzz to begin, with Emmy nominations just announced the focus is now on prospective winners–not just shows and individuals but companies as well.  For premium subscription networks like HBO, Showtime and Starz and major streaming services including Netflix, Disney+, Apple+ and HBOMax, awards not only help drive subscriptions but attract talent to work on their productions.  With so much competition for both, the pressure is great which is why everyone plays the numbers game–company with the most nominations, shows with the most nominations–because it makes a difference in the marketing.  This year combined HBO/HBOMax had one more nomination, 130, than Netflix, with 129, enough for bragging rights.

The big question is how much will the series with the most Emmy nominations benefit their respective cable or streaming services. Will Ted Lasso drive Apple+ subscriptions with a second season debuting after the news of its 20 nominations? What about The Mandalorian and WandaVision, which also received 24 and 23 nominations respectively? Can they grow beyond their already large and passionate Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe fan base? Unlike the days of broadcast network scheduled viewing which made it difficult to check out nominated work, on demand viewing invites discovery based on accolades much in the same way that Academy Award nominations and wins have helped at the box office or home entertainment sales.

We are not bystanders. MPRM campaigned heavily for two networks, a studio and multiple shows.  We also celebrated the nominations for those we launched or continued to promote.  We are not prognosticators.  The Emmy pool, because there are so many categories, is even more challenging to win than the annual Oscar pool.  We love great work and look forward to the return of the Awards Show spectacle.