Amazon, Netflix shake up TV with Golden Globe wins


Amazon and Netflix series both won top awards at Sunday's Golden Globes, highlighting the rise of on-demand streaming services and the fight they are putting up against broadcasters for content and audience attention.

Amazon bagged two major awards with its Transparent series, in its first appearance at the event which is usually dominated by traditional TV players, while Kevin Spacey won best actor in a TV drama for Netflix's House of Cards.

Transparent is a dark comedy about a transgender father, and won the award for best comedy or musical television series. Lead actor Jeffrey Tambor also bagged the statuette for best performance for an actor in a comedy or musical TV series.

Jeffrey Tambor
Jerod Harris | Getty Images for Amazon Studios

The tech giant – best known for its e-commerce operations – launched its studio arm in 2010 and is increasingly pushing its original content such as Transparent. Subscribers to Amazon Prime have access to its streaming service, which is going head-to-head with Netflix.

Amazon is debuting four original series in 2015 backed by high profile Hollywood names such as Marc Foster, the director of action blockbuster World War Z and James Bond movie Quantam of Solace.

Rival Netflix is more established on the streaming scene, with House of Cards actress Robin Wright winning a Golden Globe last year, and the series bagging seven Emmys in 2014.

'Significant' wins

Seattle-based Amazon spent around $2 billion on content for its streaming services in 2014, while Netflix splashed out $3 billion. This includes securing the rights for other shows as well as bankrolling original content. Both companies have indicated that they plan to spend more on original productions.

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Analysts said the prominence of major streaming services at top industry awards was likely to grow as their reach extends and they put out more high-quality programs.

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"It is significant that shows which are financed and distributed by these new players are showing they're of similar quality to the ones traditional linear TV networks are producing," Tim Wescott, head analyst for TV programming at IHS, told CNBC by phone.

"They are launching the shows internationally so can grab a bigger audience. Most linear TV channels only do it one country and then get licensed around the world."

Coming-of-age film Boyhood won the best motion picture for a drama, while Eddy Redmayne took the best actor award for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Julianne Moore, meanwhile, bagged gold for Still Alice.