For all Netflix and Amazon have spent on TV, they’re not off to a great start in awards season

What happened?
What happened?
Image: Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Netflix/AP Images
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Last year, streaming-video giant Netflix kicked off awards season as the king of television with eight Golden Globe nominations, more than any other TV network. It edged out critics’ darling HBO, which had seven nominations. Combined with Amazon Video and Hulu, streaming nearly overtook broadcast TV.

This year, despite spending more than ever on big-budget productions and significantly boosting their libraries of original content, streaming video had a lackluster showing in the Golden Globe nominations, which marked the start of the major awards season in Hollywood.

Streaming video earned a total of 10 nominations for the 74th annual Golden Globes, down from 14 last year, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced today. For all Netflix’s and Amazon’s new titles, the nominations were concentrated among a handful of shows. Netflix was recognized for its sci-fi sensation Stranger Things and for The Crown, its most expensive original to date, at around $13 million per episode. Amazon was once again nominated for dramedies Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle, as well as its new drama series, Goliath.

Both platforms have invested heavily in content over the past year, with Netflix reportedly spending $5 billion in 2016 and Amazon doubling down on video spending in the second half of 2015. But their massive investments barely put them in line with broadcast TV in terms of awards nominations.

Broadcast TV, which has struggled in recent years to compete with deep-pocked competitors like HBO and Netflix, also earned a combined 10 nominations—five for ABC’s Black-ish and American Crime, three for NBC’s new family drama This Is Us, and two for best actress in a comedy for The CW.

Cable, as in years past, topped the list. Pay-cable juggernaut HBO, which also spends a ton on originals, regained its throne as the most-nominated TV network this year with 14 nominations for a myriad of titles including Westworld, Game of Thrones, Veep, Divorce, Insecure, The Night Of, and the TV movies All the Way and Confirmation. And FX, which also dominated during Emmy season in September, earned nine nominations.

Awards have historically been meaningless measures of TV performance for networks; the life of a show is staked on viewership ratings that rarely lineup with critical reception. But platforms like HBO, Netflix, and Amazon, which are not beholden to ratings and advertisers, have placed more weight on buzz and critical reception when deciding whether not to renew their shows. That has started to ripple out across the industry.