The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards: A Big Night for Streaming Services

The host-less 71st Primetime Emmy Awards on Fox have come and gone, and HBO’s myriad wins aside, it turned out to be a huge night for streaming services — on stage and during the commercials. In fact, the first ad of the first commercial break came from Disney+, announcing pre-orders for its service, which will launch in November. In total, there was about 43 minutes of ad time during the show and streaming services aired 15 ads over the course of the evening.

According to, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company, top-spending brands included Dovato, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Capital One Banking.

Here’s a minute-by-minute looking at viewership during the show, courtesy of Inscape, the TV data company with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 11 million smart TVs. Viewership peaked right around 8 p.m. ET as the show got started, and saw slow-but-steady slight declines as the ceremony wore on.

Related: Emmys: HBO Wins a Bunch, and So Does Amazon

As awards shows move to a host-less system, the entertainment industry is exploring new ways to keep viewers engaged over the course of what’s often a multi-hour affair, and one tactic is the use of influencers to keep viewers watching with both the TV screen and social media.

This year the Academy introduced an “Emmy Awards commentator” (Thomas Lennon of Reno 911!) to provide “refreshing, lighthearted off-camera commentary during the ceremony for audiences at home while every Emmy winner walks to the stage to accept his/her/their award.” At the start of the show, Lennon dubbed himself “sherpa through the lulls” and described the telecast as “$14.99-a-month HBO battles $12.99-a-month Netflix,” a fairly apt quip given streaming’s domination this year.

Reception to Lennon’s commentary was mixed: some viewers were utterly confused at the narration, while others enjoyed his one-liners and professed that this is the sort of thing awards shows need.


According to CreatorIQ, an influencer platform that helps companies run brand ambassador campaigns with content creators, Lennon has 481.4K connections across social platforms, classifying him as a medium-sized influencer. And although his biggest audience is on Twitter (346.1K followers), Instagram is where he has his best engagement rate, 2.3% on recent posts, which CreatorIQ considers mainstream. His audience skews slightly male (57%), with the largest age group being 25-34 year olds (38%); when it comes to interests, television and film win out (60.5%), followed by restaurants, food and grocery (45.8%).