By Sahil Patel
After the Emmys opened its arms to web-based TV programmers like Netflix, it looks like the British Academy of Film and Television Arts will do the same. The organization announced today that for the first time “web-based broadcasters” will be eligible to enter the British Academy Television Awards and the British Academy Television Craft Awards.
Per the rules, any shows submitted for consideration must have aired in the UK between January 1 and December 31, 2013, on “terrestrial, cable, satellite, or digital channels.” This covers web-based broadcasters like Netflix that commission original content. Shows that were “self-commissioned” and distributed on sites like YouTube won’t be eligible for the awards.
In a statement, BAFTA’s chief executive Amanda Berry said: “We continually strive to ensure our Awards remain relevant to the industry, as well as reflecting the trends among the viewing public. We’re in a golden era for storytelling and programme-making, with top-class shows being broadcast online as well as on digital and terrestrial television; the latest update to our rules ensures we celebrate and reward the very best.”
Interestingly, while this is certainly good news for Netflix, which in the past year has released critically acclaimed original fare like “House of Cards,” “Arrested Development,” and “Orange Is the New Black,” this rule change also applies to one other major US-based TV show: “Breaking Bad.” If you recall, Netflix has exclusive distribution rights to the show in the UK, including airing new episodes of the final season (which just finished) the day after they aired in the US.
Entries for all categories are open today and will close on Friday, December 3. The 2014 British Academy Television Awards will be held on Sunday, May 18, 2014.