TV networks with shows that win big at the Emmy Awards earn bragging rights in Hollywood.
But the accolades have little impact on ad revenue or the life span of a show that can’t deliver ratings, an analyst said Monday.
“If you told network executives, ’which would you rather have — an Emmy or a rating point?’ — they’d all take the higher rating point,” media analyst Harold Vogel said.
“Only ratings will keep a show on,” he said.
HBO was among the big winners at Sunday’s awards show. Shows such as “The Sopranos” and “Entourage” helped the cable network rake in nine trophies.
NBC led all broadcast networks with a total of six trophies for the comedies “The Office,” “Will & Grace” and “My Name Is Earl.” CBS picked up two statuettes.
The ABC dramas “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” collected the most Emmys last year but took home only one this year.
Winning an Emmy can help generate buzz and might attract more viewers, said Claire Atkinson, deputy media editor for the trade magazine Advertising Age.
“Perhaps it’s not quantifiable, but lots of people talking about your shows in the media the day after can’t hurt,” she said.
Among the shows that could benefit from its Emmy performance was “The Office,” which won for best comedy series.
NBC has been trying to gain more exposure for the show, airing episodes during the summer and making them available online via iTunes. The Emmy provided an additional boost.
“Advertisers, they do kind of monitor very closely what is hot and what isn’t,” Atkinson said. “And if you do win awards, it may not mean anything, but that gets people talking — that is bound to help advertising-wise.”
There is little downside to losing an Emmy race.
“Grey’s Anatomy” was shut out Sunday despite garnering the most nominations. But that isn’t likely to affect its popularity.
“I don’t think it hurts,” Atkinson said. “I don’t think ABC’s two shows that didn’t get nominated — “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” — hurt them either.”
Ratings determine if a show remains on the air.
The now-defunct Fox comedy “Arrested Development” won Emmys and critical acclaim in recent years. But that didn’t stop the network from canceling it after it failed to catch on with viewers.
Cable networks like HBO don’t necessarily see any growth in subscribers as a result of Emmy wins. And even for established shows, a trophy isn’t a guarantee of bigger audiences.
“A lot of the shows reach an Emmy when they’re well into their network run,” Vogel said. “I don’t know that you can extract much more of the audience that’s there.”