Parks Associates says awards propel new OTT services like Apple TV+

Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos has, in the past, called awards just a "nice to have." (Getty Images)

Apple TV+ launched its new streaming service in November 2019, and its flagship series The Morning Show recently won awards from the Screen Actors Guild and the Critics’ Choice Award. “Awards recognition brings legitimacy to the original content in a streaming service and can be a significant boost especially in the early days after its launch,” said Parks Associates Research Director Steve Nason, in a statement.

Apple TV+ counted about 34 million subscribers as of late January, according to The Street. Apple is offering one free year of Apple TV+ to buyers of Apple devices. Otherwise, the service costs $4.99 per month.

Nason said that winning awards is important for streaming services. “Such recognition certainly helped Netflix when the company first ventured into original content, and now the service scored 24 Oscar nominations this year, led by The Irishman and Marriage Story.”

However, most people noted that although Netflix was nominated for 24 awards, it only won two. Laura Dern won the award for best supporting actress in Marriage Story. And the streaming service also took home an Oscar for best feature documentary for American Factory. The Irishman didn’t win any Oscars.

Speaking at a SeriesFest event in Denver last summer, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos was laser-focused on getting viewers to watch more Netflix content so that they find value in their subscriptions. Since then, the company has changed its programming so that the next episode of a series starts immediately after the previous episode ends.

RELATED: Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos describes the company’s use of data

Sarandos said it’s critical that viewers find value in the service and watch more of it so that they continue to subscribe and that this “value” is more important than accolades for Netflix. “The critic-piece is a nice to have,” said Sarandos. “The awards-piece is a nice to have.”

Parks Associates’ latest OTT Video Market Tracker predicts OTT video services will benefit as their recognition during awards season in video entertainment continues to expand. For this year’s Golden Globes, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon earned a total of 47 nominations, nearly double the 25 they received last year, with the three services winning two awards each.

Among Netflix subscribers, 64% feel it would difficult to give up the service, including 47% who feel it would be “very difficult,” the highest among top OTT video services measured, according to Parks Associates research.

Parks Associates chart

The research firm also finds that as of Q3 2019, pay-TV and OTT services reach roughly the same number of consumers – around 72% of U.S. broadband households.