|GOLDEN GLOBESRICKY GERVAISNBC|
With most major releases indefinitely delayed, film festivals postponed, and studios dropping their theatrical releases on digital left and right due to the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis, awards season is going to look very different by the time it rolls around in the fall. And no, it won’t be Bloodshot and Sonic the Hedgehog gunning for best picture, as many online have joked.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is making significant changes to its long-standing rules for the Golden Globes awards eligibility that expands the formats where an eligible film can be first released, including subscription streaming services, subscription cable channels, and broadcast TV. With these changes to the Golden Globes eligibility rules, other awards bodies like the Academy Awards, will likely soon follow.
Deadline reports that the HFPA announced that it would be altering its rules for Golden Globe motion picture eligibility and screenings for this year, which would — for the first time in history — open up the films eligible for the top best picture prizes drama and musical/comedy to those that were first released on streaming services, cable, and broadcast TV. However, producers and studios must still prove they had a “bona fide theatrical release planned to begin in Los Angeles during the period from March 15 to April 30 2020.”
This is a change that would likely have come at some point anyway, with the rise of streaming platforms who have become awards heavy-hitters like Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu, but has been expedited by the coronavirus epidemic, which has forced the shuttering of theaters across the country and delayed film releases and productions.
“The HFPA’s reminders list committee will consider application of this suspension of the rules on a case-by-case basis when compiling the annual Golden Globe reminders list in the fall,” the HFPA says. “The HFPA will continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on motion picture and television distribution and exhibition and may extend these suspensions of the Golden Globe award rules and/or may make other temporary variations to those rules as it considers appropriate in the future.”
Exhibition requirements have been temporarily suspended, except for the rule that films must be released seven days prior to midnight on December 31 of the qualifying year. The HFPA has broadened eligible feature film release platforms — previously only pay-per-view services and theaters — to the alternate formats like streaming services, subscription cable channels, and broadcast TV. But this expansion opens up a whole host of questions: what does this mean for the Golden Globe categories dedicated to TV movies that are dominated by HBO? Could a film that premiered at a film festival but picked up by a cable channel now be...
On news broadcasts and cable news channels, the company will reduce commercial loads to allow for more programming. On the entertainment front, late night shows as well as unscripted series on Bravo, E! and USA, will all feature extended episodes and bonus content in lieu of some commercial pods.
NBCUniversal will reduce advertising loads across its networks and add more entertainment and news content as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues, and as families quarantine at home.
“Now, people all across America are turning to us more for the content that comforts them and connects them to the outside world,” writes NBCUniversal ad sales and partnerships chairman Linda Yaccarino in a blog post Monday afternoon. “At the same time, some marketers across every industry have asked to pause their advertising plans or shift their messages, and they're looking for ideas, tools, and strategies from their most trusted partners. So, in light of everything we're seeing and hearing, we want to do what's right for our audiences and marketers.”
On the broadcast news shows and the company's cable news channels MSNBC and CNBC, the company will reduce commercial loads to allow for more news and information programming.
On the entertainment front, late night shows The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen now originating from the hosts' homes, as well as unscripted series on Bravo, E! and USA, will all feature extended episodes and bonus content in lieu of some commercial pods.
Some of the company's channels will also launch family movie nights, with sponsored but commercial-free airings of films.
Late last month the advertising research firm Magna Global predicted that the U.S. TV ad market would fall by 13 percent in 2020 due to the fallout from the pandemic, calling the situation “totally unprecedented.” The travel, restaurant and movie sectors in particular have pulled back ad spend.
In addition, NBCUniversal finds itself in the position of having to fill many hours of programming that had been set aside for coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which have since been postponed until 2021.
Yaccarino also writes that the company will be engaging in outreach to companies and waiving fees “to allow companies to reach their customers directly in their homes and generate much-needed sales.” That will include access to remote production teams, brand assets, talent, translation services, and editing services, which can all be used to create new campaigns even as most people are staying home.
The company also released new research on Monday outlining the increased media consumption during the last few weeks. The research found that digital and linear TV viewing is up, gaming is up significantly, and that streaming services are seeing subscription gains, while...