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The Netflix Revolution: Emmy Voters Embrace Change That Lifts All Ships

The nominations encourage content creators that their good stuff will be recognized wherever it is and goads the networks and cable channels to do better

The 14 Emmy nominations for Netflix shows represents a sea change in the entertainment industry that will have positive ripple effects for everybody.

It rewards Netflix for taking a risk.

It encourages content creators that their good stuff will be found and recognized wherever it is.

It goads the networks and cable channels to do better – there’s new competition.

Also read: Emmys 2013 Nominations (Complete List)

It reinforces the will of all those online players who are headed, hard, into original content — Amazon, Hulu — that they will get a seat at the big boy’s table if they do a good job.

The viewer is the biggest beneficiary of all, though you could argue that it’s getting exponentially harder to keep track of must-see TV.

By enthusiastically embracing Netflix’s shows — nine nominations for “House of Cards” alone, and others for the “Arrested Development” reboot and “Hemlock Grove” —  the Academy for Television Arts & Sciences showed that it is ready to welcome the future of its business. ATAS’s choices clearly signaled that it doesn't have a pro-airwaves bias — any outlet that brings quality to the party will be taken seriously, novice or veteran.  

Mind you, it’s certainly true that Netflix wanted those nominations. The streaming company — is it right to still call it a streaming company? — campaigned hard to get in the race, going so far as to send hot barbeque trucks (Kevin Spacey‘s character’s favorite on the show) around town to feed folks — including sending trays to media organizations, such as ours.

Nothing wrong with that. (Yum.)

See photos: Emmys 2013 Snubs and Surprises

The ripple effect will be immediate, I predict. You’d better believe that the folks over at Amazon are watching Thursday's nominations closely. They have multiple shows on the cusp of a greenlight — I even hear they are looking for a reality show.

And Hulu just got a $750 million cash infusion from its owners Fox, Disney and Comcast, who decided not to sell it to DirecTV or AT&T. Just watch and see if there’s capital available for original content. I bet that there will be.

Worth noting that another non-traditional service, Sony's Crackle, also got an Emmy nomination on Thursday: Jerry Seinfeld‘s short “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” was nominated in the Short-Format Nonfiction Programs category.

Also read: Emmys 2013 by the Numbers: HBO, 'Asylum,' 'Game of Thrones' Lead

It was just two years ago that many wondered whether Netflix had lost its mojo. CEO Reed Hastings decided to split off the DVD mail service into Qwikster and raised the subscription price, enraging consumers.

The company has not only righted itself, but established its dominance as the runaway streaming leader. The stock has gone through the roof. And now it has made history at the Emmys.

It’s a good day for Netflix, to be sure. But it’s a really good day for all of us who love great content.

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