Gracenote Analysis: Streamers Dominate Major Emmy Nominated Shows Like Never Before

This year 41 shows have been nominated in the 22 categories of major Emmy awards recognizing outstanding acting, directing, writing and shows, with streaming services accounting for 27 of these shows, the highest share in Emmy history from the streamers, according to an analysis by Nielsen’s Gracenote.

Nine are from premium cable networks, two from broadcast networks, one from a basic cable network and two from free advertising supported streaming TV (FAST) channels.

The nomination of “Jury Duty,” the first series from a FAST channel, is particularly noteworthy because its channel Freevee broadcast only six original scripted series in the nomination period.

The Emmy Awards recognize excellence within various areas of television and emerging media including primetime programming, daytime, sports, news and documentary programming and international programming. The Television Academy which administers the Primetime Emmy Awards decided to push back the 2023 ceremony from its usual September window to Jan. 15, 2024 due to the Hollywood labor disputes. The awards will cover programming from June 1, 2022 to May 31, 2023.

The 2023 Primetime Emmy Awards mark the fifth year in succession in which more shows from streaming services than other distributors have received nominations in major categories. More shows than ever from streamers were nominated for major awards this year.

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Other observations: 

  • Streaming shows captured 27 Emmy nominations in major awards categories, a new record high. Just six years ago, only 10 shows from streaming services were nominated in these categories.
  • Major nominations for streaming series have remained relatively stable for five successive Emmy award cycles at between 10 and 14 different shows. This year’s 14 nominated series from streamers for major awards equal the 2021 record.
  • The recent increase in Emmy nominations in major categories for streaming shows has been driven by limited or anthology series and TV movies. The 13 nominated shows in 2023 are nearly three times as many as the five in 2019 and represent a new high for the streamers.
  • Showtime’s George & Tammy and NBC’s Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas are the only limited series or TV movies from premium cable or broadcast networks nominated for major Emmys at this awards ceremony.
  • Streaming services have triple the number of programs with major nominations of premium cable services for the first time this year. Nearly two-thirds of programs nominated for major Emmy awards are from streaming services, the highest proportion achieved so far by this group.
  • It was only two years ago that streaming services had over 50% of the nominated programs in major categories for the first time.
  • Only one series from a broadcast network — ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” — has been nominated for major Emmy awards this year. Broadcast networks have never had such little success with series. Just three years ago, this segment accounted for seven major Emmy awards nominations for series.
  • This year premium cable services have received their lowest number of nominated programs in major Emmy award categories (nine) since streaming services received their first major Emmy nominations in 2013. The previous low for premium cable programming was 10 major award nominees in 2021.
  • The 41 programs nominated for major Emmy awards in 2023 is consistent with the last two years (39 in 2021 and 40 in 2022). However, this is a smaller number of nominated programs than in the peak years of the last decade as 55 different shows and TV movies were nominated in 2015 and 50 in 2018.
  • “Jury Duty” is the first series from a FAST channel to be nominated for a major Emmy award. Its creator Freevee made only five other original series which were released during the nomination period. The Roku Channel’s Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is the second TV Movie from a FAST channel to receive Emmy recognition, after last year’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas, also from the same channel.

Nielsen Study: Streaming Consumers Confounded by Choice

With the explosion of streaming content, consumers are finding it hard to choose what to watch, according to research firm Nielsen’s 2023 State of Play report using data from its Gracenote arm.

Viewers now spend an average of more than 10 minutes per session deciding what to watch, according to the study, down from more than 11 minutes in October 2022, but up from just over 7 minutes in March 2019. When consumers could not find something compelling to watch, the report notes that one in five said they abandoned the viewing session and turned to another activity.  

According to the Gracenote data analysis, there were 1.9 million video titles available to viewers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico and Germany in July 2021. The number swelled to 2.7 million titles by June 2023. Of the total count, a whopping 86.7% were available on streaming services. Compounding complexity, many popular shows appear in multiple streaming catalogs, highlighting an industry pivot away from content exclusivity to broader distribution in search of better monetization, Nielsen noted.

The Gracenote data analysis also found that audiences now have nearly 40,000 individual FAST channels, streaming providers and aggregators to choose from. Putting that in context, new Nielsen data from The Gauge revealed that streaming accounted for 38.7% of total TV usage in July, a new record high. Concurrently, traditional TV viewing across broadcast and cable dropped below 50% for the first time.

With so many choices and the rise of FAST channels, consumers are turning to familiar content. For example, in the United States, 60% of time spent streaming in May 2023 was dedicated to programming that first aired on linear channels, according to the study. That’s up 5.2% from October 2022.

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For additional context, 18 of the 25 most-watched streaming programs by U.S. women 18-34 in 2022 were classic TV titles, with “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Gilmore Girls” beating out “Stranger Things” for the top spots. In total, this audience watched just under 77 billion minutes of these shows, which is 73% of the total for all 25 titles. Comparatively, 17 of the 25 most-watched streaming titles by U.S. men 18-34 in 2022 were acquired titles, and this audience watched nearly 43 billion minutes of these titles — 64% of the total time spent with all 25 titles.

With so much content old and new to choose from, those that leverage content metadata and connected IDs to present the most compelling programming and relevant advertising to the right viewers through merchandising, curation and data science can gain a competitive edge, the firm advised.

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“As it was during the age of broadcast television, content is the lifeblood of the digital, streaming-first media ecosystem,” Filiz Bahmanpour, VP of product at Gracenote, said in a statement. “So a clear understanding of content — where it’s available, what it’s about and whom it’s attracting — is more critical than ever.”

Gracenote is the content solutions business unit of Nielsen, providing entertainment metadata, content IDs and related offerings to entertainment creators, distributors and platforms.

Nielsen’s Gracenote Joins EIDR Board

Gracenote, the content solutions business unit of Nielsen, has joined the Entertainment ID Registry (EIDR) board.

The organizations will partner on new ways to help the media and entertainment industry improve workflow efficiencies through automation, drive program discoverability and optimize return on content investment-key business imperatives in the streaming age, according to Gracenote.

EIDR is a unique identifier system for audio and video content, designed to provide a standard way of identifying and tracking works across the media supply chain.

“I am thrilled to extend a very warm welcome to Gracenote as they join the EIDR Board,” Hollie Choi, managing director of EIDR, said in a statement. “Gracenote and EIDR share in the mission to improve the accuracy and efficiency of content management and distribution for the media and entertainment industry. I’m looking forward to finding ways for our two organizations to work together on our common goals.”

“As a customer-first organization, Gracenote continually seeks new ways to meet the needs of our valued clients and the broader media and entertainment industry,” Filiz Bahmanpour, VP of product at Gracenote, said in a statement. “We are enthusiastic about joining the EIDR Board and will use this seat at the table to open conversations with the industry on how we can work together to bring incremental value.”

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Gracenote is a global provider of TV and movie metadata and Gracenote IDs, which power the content distribution and discovery ecosystem by linking data assets related to programs such as descriptions, genres, cast lists, imagery and platform availability on a platform. 

Gracenote Launches ID System to Manage Streaming Content

Gracenote, a Nielsen company, has launched the Gracenote ID Distribution System.

The new platform enables program owners and creators to leverage Gracenote IDs to manage their content, streamline distribution and ensure their content brands are well represented and easily discoverable on major streaming services, connected TV devices and MVPDs, according to the company. At launch, the Gracenote ID Distribution System is available in North America, Europe and Latin America.

Gracenote IDs are unique identifiers for TV shows and movies which are broadly deployed throughout the global entertainment ecosystem and act like Universal Product Codes for content. The IDs link data assets related to programs such as descriptions, genres, cast lists, vibrant imagery, and program availability on a platform. In addition, they power personalized recommendations within individual video services and universal content search and discovery across streaming, MVPD, CTV, on-demand and linear platforms, according to Gracenote.

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Using the Gracenote ID Distribution System, programming sources can submit their content metadata and imagery via a web application or API to ensure its association with normalized Gracenote metadata and IDs and manage its distribution, all through a single point of integration, according to Gracenote. The majority of the world’s leading video discovery experiences running on Gracenote metadata and IDs can then present resonant content and metadata in program guides and recommendations to drive viewing and engagement.

“With streaming reaching maturity, more focus than ever is placed on securing positive return on investment on programming,” Simon Adams, chief product officer at Gracenote, said in a statement. “To achieve this, content sources need their offerings to be easily discovered and appropriately represented in distribution channels and their user interfaces. Gracenote ID Distribution System leverages our deep metadata and content ID expertise to streamline this process for content sources, ultimately helping them drive maximum engagement and monetization.”

Gracenote Bows New Product for Content Licensing and Acquisitions

Gracenote, Nielsen’s content solutions arm, has introduced the Distribution Dynamics and Program Availability Archive, with new datasets to help content owners and buyers optimize program licensing and acquisition strategies.

Complementing Gracenote’s existing Content Analytics offerings, these syndicated datasets provide the content marketplace insights into characteristics of programming that drives consumption and historical availability. 

Gracenote Distribution Dynamics sheds light on how individual streaming and broadcast programs are consumed by evaluating the following characteristics: bingeability, by measuring the average number of TV show episodes watched per day to quantify viewer propensity to consume multiple episodes in a row; loyalty, by capturing the number of minutes and percentage of available content viewed per month to highlight viewer likeliness to stick with a program; and program similarity, by identifying programs that resemble other programs based on lookalike thematic characteristics, viewing audiences and historical performance. 

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“Leveraging this intelligence, streaming services and networks can optimize slate management through visibility into what content is better suited for viewer acquisition versus viewer retention, or what types of programming better resonate with certain audiences,” according to Gracenote. “Media companies and studios can solve content distribution challenges by understanding what programming to create or license to maximize viewership. Studios, streaming services and networks can answer content development questions by identifying underserved viewership segments.”

Gracenote Program Availability Archive provides visibility into the past placement of content across various streaming services to help inform future distribution decisions. Historical information, available for the past five years includes program and episode titles, unique Gracenote content identifiers (IDs), original air dates, availability start and end dates, and season and episode numbers.

“Using the Gracenote Program Availability Archive, content creators, licensors and buyers can see program release scheduling, stacking, windowing and removal information and develop go-forward content strategies,” according to the company. “Additionally, this information enables whitespace analysis capabilities and comparisons between owned content catalogs and those of competitors.” 

“As the streaming business continues to put huge investment into creating content, we are seeing the need for new metrics and insights to help guide monetization efforts,” Simon Adams, chief product officer at Gracenote, said in a statement. “Gracenote’s Content Analytics solutions, including our new Distribution Dynamics and Program Availability Archive datasets, meet these needs by providing owners and buyers trusted data and intelligence to inform decision-making around their content strategies.”

Gracenote Launches Personalized Imagery Streaming Feature

Nielsen’s Gracenote has launched a “Personalized Imagery” feature to customize images consumers see on streaming services.

The new feature will help video services present the most appealing program images to viewers in their user interfaces (UIs), content carousels and program guides, according to Gracenote.

Leveraging “Gracenote Video Descriptors,” including mood, theme and scenario in conjunction with cast information, the new imagery created by Gracenote will help optimize providers’ proprietary content discovery experiences and third-party recommendation results, according to the company.

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With “Personalized Imagery,” linear and streaming TV providers and connected device makers can dynamically display program images capturing different aspects of a TV show or movie based on viewer preferences and previous consumption. For example, a theme such as “female bonding” might be the main element of a show that attracts one viewer’s interest while for another, its location or the presence of a favorite supporting actor could be the primary draw. The new Gracenote solution enables services to present the best images to individual viewers as they make tune-in decisions.

A recent pilot by a top-five U.S. streaming service that used targeted Gracenote program images instead of standard images resulted in an 11.2% increase in time spent watching titles and a 7.7% lift in the number of titles watched, according to the company.

“Viewers looking for new shows to watch today rely on program guides and UIs to browse available content choices,” Gracenote Kamran Lotfi, VP of product, said in a statement. “But a huge opportunity exists to deliver highly personalized user experiences that highlight content in ways that resonate more with viewers. With Gracenote Personalized Imagery, we are offering TV providers a proven way to increase engagement with their content and maximize viewership on their platforms.”

Gracenote is the content services arm of Nielsen Media.

Nielsen to Track Content Diversity in Hollywood

Nielsen Feb. 17 announced it is partnering with entertainment metadata tracker Gracenote to record visibility into the gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation of talent appearing in TV programming and the audiences watching it. Dubbed Gracenote Inclusion Analytics, the new software aims to give content creators, owners, distributors and advertisers data around on-screen diversity and representation to enable more inclusive content. Future enhancements will expand product coverage to include theatrical movies as well as behind-the-camera talent including directors, producers, writers and other key roles.

Nielsen said the information will enable distributors to highlight content within their catalogs featuring diverse female leads for Women’s History Month or fuel recommendations connecting audiences of diverse content. A studio could evaluate whether its content meets diversity, equity and inclusion benchmarks — highlighting programs for licensing opportunities. Similarly, a brand could identify and target the most inclusive content to inform its ad investment or product placement decisions.

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“The entertainment industry has a massive challenge ahead — to ensure the talent associated with popular TV programming mirrors today’s increasingly diverse viewing audiences,” Sandra Sims-Williams, SVP of diversity, equity and inclusion at Nielsen, said in a statement. “By democratizing information around representation in content, Gracenote Inclusion Analytics holds the power to push the industry toward better balance and a more equitable future.”

According to a recent Nielsen report, women make up 52% of the U.S. population but comprise only 38% of top recurring cast in popular broadcast, cable and streaming programming. At the same time, people of color account for 40% of the broader population, but are present in only 27% of top TV roles. These data points highlight significant imbalances between representation in content and key audience groups which, by addressing, would serve to accelerate equity in entertainment.

The new industry tracker combines Gracenote’s video program metadata and ethnicity data with Nielsen television ratings and SVOD content ratings. Based on these inputs, the software delivers proprietary metrics assessing the degree to which different identity groups are featured in programming and how evenly this reflects viewing audiences. These include:

  • Share of Screen quantifying an identity group’s (e.g., women, LGBTQ, Black) representation among the top recurring talent
  • Inclusion Opportunity Index comparing share of screen for an identity group (e.g., women) to their representation in population estimates
  • Inclusion Audience Index comparing share of screen for a group to their representation in the program’s viewing audience

 

“Audiences today actively seek out programs that highlight people who resemble them and experiences that reflect their own,” said Tina Wilson, head of analytics at Nielsen. “Under these circumstances, it’s critical that the entertainment industry create authentic content which resonates with underrepresented groups. Together, Nielsen and Gracenote are uniquely positioned to help the industry seize upon this opportunity by way of new data analytics solutions ensuring meaningful connections between content and audiences.”