Should YouTubers Be Celebrated at the Emmys?

Hand holding emmys holding youtubers play button on top of abstarct background with youtube logo
YouTubers the Emmys Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock MarySan/Shutterstock Mehaniq/Shutterstock

On May 13, YouTube CEO Neil Mohan published an op-ed with The Hollywood Reporter. The article makes the case for YouTubers to be considered for the Emmy Awards.

“You might not expect MrBeast to stand on the same stage as Jeremy Allen White,” Mohan writes, “but if you think creators are just recording vlogs from their bedrooms, then I have some big news. Creators have writers’ rooms, production teams, and business strategies. They’re developing programming that’s not just popular and relevant – it’s breaking boundaries.”

In short, Mohan argues that creators define “a new era of entertainment.” And as these “boundary breakers,” do they not deserve to be recognized? 

‘A new era of entertainment’

It’s true that YouTubers’ production value has gone up. MrBeast, one of the platform’s most popular creators, estimates he spends more than $2.5 million per video. By contrast, shows like “Downtown Abbey” and “Mad Men” cost $1-3 million per episode. So, the YouTube industrial complex has certainly become more lucrative. 

The numbers also support Mohan’s argument. The Information reports that half of YouTube’s U.S. audience watch the platform on TV, while Nielson’s January report also revealed that, yet again, YouTube was more widely watched than leading streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus. 

Can YouTubers get Emmys?

YouTube has the production value, it has the viewers. So why shouldn’t YouTube get the same rewards as other platforms? Mohan’s argument is definitely a compelling one, but it’ll take more than one op-ed to change things.

The Emmys also already announced in 2016 that creators can win numerous categories celebrating short-form series, with some YouTube creators taking home awards and nominations. One could argue that online creators already get sufficient recognition.

And indeed, the traditional entertainment industry seems to show some distaste for content creators. At the most recent Met Gala, influencers had a smaller presence than ever, showing that the hierarchical elitism of the traditional entertainment industry is still very much at play.

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