Emmys expand short-form category to include digital series

Your favorite YouTuber could have a Primetime Emmy this year, thanks to the Television Academy expanding its categories to include digital creation.

Short-form series will gain Television Academy recognition in 2016 with new categories that don’t limit series to the airwaves. The expansion will add four categories for short-form achievement: variety, animation, comedy or drama, and reality/non-fiction. To qualify a series must have at least six episodes at an average length of 15 minutes, and be shown on traditional TV or the Internet. There will also be acting categories specific to short form. 

“What was clear to the governors is that there is a rapid acceleration in the volume of terrific creative work being done by our members in the space,” TV Academy Chairman and CEO Bruce Rosenblum told Variety. “One of the primary goals for our organization is to award creative excellence. There was no reason why we shouldn’t be awarding creative excellence in short-form digital content as well.”

The eventual winners will not be the first digital programs to earn Emmys. In 2013 The Lizzie Bennet Diaries became the first YouTube series to win one, a Creative Arts Emmy in the Interactive series category. Normally the Interactive categories honor digital extensions of existing programs, like Jimmy Fallon’s online programming to compliment his network show. Longer-form YouTube Red content would continue to compete in existing full-length categories, the same way Netflix and Hulu series do.

The new categories would break short-form video into the mainstream, although there are other industry-specific awards that have already focused on celebrating the best in online video, namely the Streamy Awards, which made its televised debut in 2015 on VH1. The short-form Emmys won’t be televised, however, instead handed out during the Creative Arts program.

H/T Variety | Illustration via Max Fleishman

Rae Votta

Rae Votta

A former YouTube reporter for the Daily Dot, Rae Votta has more than a decade of experience in the digital and entertainment industries. Her work has appeared on AOL, Huffington Post, Out Magazine, Logo, VH1, Current TV, Billboard, and NYMag. She joined Netflix in 2016.