Hulu made history on Sunday night at the 2017 Emmy Awards, becoming the first online streaming platform to bring home an award in one of the major categories. Critically acclaimed series The Handmaid's Tale nabbed the high honor of best outstanding drama series, in addition to a handful of other awards, including acting awards for Elisabeth Moss, Ann Dowd, and Alexis Bledel, and writing and directing awards for Bruce Miller and Reed Morano. In the category of outstanding drama, Hulu was up against its greatest rival, Netflix, four times over, as the big granddaddy of streaming boasted four out of the seven nominees in the category (Better Call Saul, The Crown, House of Cards, Stranger Things). Only one network series managed to wriggle in: NBC's breakout family drama This Is Us. HBO's Westworld closed off the group, but in the end it was Hulu that emerged victorious.
The Battle Of The TV Streaming Platforms
Hulu substantially upped its game from just two measly nominations in 2016 to a total of 18 this year. Never one to be outdone, #Netflix jumped from 54 to 91 nominations, while Amazon held fast at 16 nominations two years in a row. If you were under the impression that this whole streaming phenomenon was going to go the way of NeoPets and just sort of peter out, this should serve as a clear sign that that won't be happening in our lifetime. #Hulu's Emmy's sweep, however, does seem to reopen the question of who the real leader of the pack is when it comes to dominating the world of television streaming.
Check out A Handmaid's Tale's star, Elisabeth Moss, discussing Season 2 of the show:
Among regular streamers, Netflix is synonymous with binge-watching, and the oldest streaming platform in the world seems pretty safe and secure in their position at the top of the heap, with plenty of beloved original programming to keep their hopelessly loyal fanbase hooked until the end of time. In 2017, they reportedly spent $6 billion on content, spread out across licensing fees for films and TV, as well as on production for their own original content. $100 million of that went straight into their new crown jewel of TV, The Crown. It was a commendable effort, but Queen Elizabeth, Frank Underwood, Saul Goodman and the Stranger Things kids weren't clever enough to take on the Handmaids of Gilead.
Hulu's Big Break & Bright Future
The Handmaid's Tale — Hulu's first breakout hit — couldn't have come at a better time, as the 10-year-old streaming platform struggles to avoid becoming the Bing to Netflix's Google. Founded in 2007, 10 years after Netflix, Hulu has gone through a major rebranding push in recent years, urging users to block out the ad-riddled experience of days gone by. They've sunk millions into their new Hulu Live TV app, which rolled out this past May to a so-far lukewarm success, which might be in part due to its limited availability (you can only get it on Apple TV, Xbox One and Chromecast, iOS and Android mobile devices). It was a risky and expensive leap for Hulu, whose 12 million US subscribers are hardly making Netflix quiver in their boots, what with their comfortable 50.8 million US subscribers. But as Netflix and Amazon continue dividing their attentions between film and television, Hulu might have made the right choice by throwing its whole weight behind TV.
While Netflix's first and most critically acclaimed series, Orange Is the New Black, turned heads for its brilliant writing and acting, it was also a novelty for being the first of its kind to come out of a streaming platform. Netflix paved the way for streaming to overtake network TV, and now younger, leaner Hulu has proved they're a force to be reckoned with. Netflix might still have the most money and the broadest fan base, but Hulu has an Emmy for outstanding drama, and no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Netflix had better watch its back.