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Emmy Groups Agree on Awarding Online Content

Online content will compete in existing award categories

Los Angeles and New York are getting in bed together again.


The New York-based National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and its Los Angeles-based counterpart, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, have ended their multi-year, multi-million dollar battle on how to award Emmys for online content. 


NATAS — which administers the Daytime Emmys and other awards for news and documentary programs — dropped all of its appeals against ATAS, which hands out the prime-time Emmy Awards.


The TV academies had been fighting over whether online programming should be recognized within its own Emmy category or if web shows should be eligible to compete in the existing categories that recognizes broadcast and cable shows. 


The two parties agreed today that “broadband content should be judged as television within existing primetime and daytime television awards ceremonies, rather than as a standalone platform," according to a joint statement released Tuesday by NATAS chairman Herb Granath and ATAS chairman/CEO John Shaffner.


The pact reinforces a December 2007 ruling in ATAS’ favor that prevented NATAS from giving Emmys in a separate category for new media. The New York Supreme Court also denied NATAS’ petition to appeal that ruling in March 2008.  


The battle — which has reportedly cost both organizations millions — began in early 2007 when NATAS established its own Emmy categories for online programming. ATAS filed an injunction against NATAS handing out the awards, but the New York

academy went ahead and gave Emmys for online programs in drama, comedy, variety and children’s programming — areas under ATAS’ jurisdiction. 

According to today’s agreement, online shows — or "broadband content" — will no longer have its own Emmy category. Instead, they will compete for Emmys in other categories.

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