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Streaming platforms come of age

Streaming platforms have disrupted the entertainment ecosystem. However, a record haul of Oscar® nominations suggests that Hollywood success remains pivotal to their growth.

Hot on the heels of a momentous Golden Globe Awards campaign, streaming players are contending for major wins at this weekend’s Academy Awards®. Oscar® nominations received by the two major streaming platforms—Netflix and Amazon—reached an all-time high of 18 in 2019.1

Number of Oscar® nominations received by the top two streaming platforms over the past few years

Last month, streaming platforms won seven awards from 23 nominations at the 2019 Golden Globes.This followed five wins in 20183, continuing the run of success in TV that began earlier this decade. The surge in Oscar® nominations reflects the evolution of streamers beyond documentaries into several coveted movie categories.

In 2014, Netflix scored the first Oscar® nomination for over-the-top (OTT) platforms in the Best Documentary category. In 2017, Amazon became the first streamer nominated for Best Picture. This year, these streaming platforms are vying for Best Picture, Best Director, both female acting and screenplay categories, and Best Foreign Film.

What’s behind the numbers?

  • Investment in original content and movies: The top two streaming platforms invested close to $11 billion on content during 2017 (including original scripted shows and movies), which grew to about $17 billion in 2018.A significant portion of this budget went toward funding movies. Netflix increased its original movie release slate to 80 in 2018, up from 50 the year before.5 Amazon’s output is smaller but no less ambitious—it signed deals with several high-profile creative teams.

    These investments are being driven by huge consumer demand for original content as streamers strive to acquire more paying subscribers. Deloitte’s most recent Digital media trends survey showed that more than half of US streaming video subscribers signed up for a service just to watch original content.“Innovative original content continues to gain popularity with consumers. Non-traditional studios such as Amazon and Netflix have been, and continue to invest billions in amassing large libraries of high quality, original content”, says Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and US telecom, media and entertainment leader, Deloitte LLP. “Our research has shown that 54 percent of streaming video subscribers in the US are subscribing to access specific original content.” Original content from Netflix and Amazon is available to 100+ million subscribers in the United States.8
  • Priming for the award season: The path to winning entertainment industry awards is similar to that of political campaigns: Streaming platforms are leaving no stones unturned to ensure their candidates have the best chance of winning. Broadly, they have invested heavily in festival films, which tend to garner more award nominations. This year, for example, Amazon spent over $45 million on buying movies at the Sundance Film Festival.9 Netflix bought prime advertising billboard assets along Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood to help stay top-of-mind with those casting votes.10

The fight for award recognition is another phase of the struggle between traditional and non-traditional players, with streaming platforms seeking to dominate areas of the entertainment industry normally associated with Hollywood studios. The growth in Oscar® nominations also highlights the increased acceptance and validation of streaming platforms among the traditional Hollywood community. Netflix, for example, was recently admitted to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

The streaming platforms’ success also signals the changing currency of industry awards. Traditionally, awards meant artistic prestige and a bump at the box office. However, Hollywood players are now more interested in subscriber growth.

This charticle authored by Shashank Srivastava on February 20, 2019.

Digital media trends survey

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Deloitte analysis based on Academy Awards® database.
Denise Petski, “Golden Globes Nominations By Film, Studio, Series, Network”, Deadline, December 6, 2018; Erik Pedersen, “Golden Globes: Wins By Film, Program, Network & Studio”, Deadline, January 6, 2019.
Mallory Locklear, “Netflix Leads Streaming Services with 13 Golden Globe nominations. But Amazon Earned the Most for TV series”, Engadget, December 6, 2018.
Todd Spangler, “Netflix Spent $12 Billion on Content in 2018. Analysts Expect That to Grow to $15 Billion This Year”, Variety, January 18, 2019; Alex Weprin, “Amazon Expected To Spend $5 Billion Dollars on Video Content This Year”, MediaPost, February 23, 2018; Rani Molla, “Netflix Spends More on Content than Anyone Else on the Internet–and Many TV Networks, Too”, Recode, February 26, 2018.
Todd Spangler, “Netflix Plans to Release 80 Original Films in 2018”, Variety, October 16, 2017.
Beatrice Verhoeven, “Amazon Studios, Blumhouse TV Team Up for Eight Thematically-Connected Films”, The Wrap, November 14, 2018.
Kevin Westcott, Jeff Loucks, Kevin Downs, Jeanette Watson, “Digital media trends survey: A New World of Choice for Digital Consumers”, Deloitte Insights, March 19, 2018.
As per SNL Kagan’s “State of Home Entertainment 2018”, Netflix and Amazon both have at least 50m subs each.
Scott Mendelson, “Here's Why Amazon Went on an Unprecedented Sundance Shopping Spree”, Forbes, February 5, 2019.
10 David Ng, “Netflix's Latest Conquest? Billboard Advertising Along the Sunset Strip”, Los Angeles Times, October 16, 2018.

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