At last night’s Oscars, both Amazon and Netflix notched historic wins thanks to award winners Manchester by the Sea and The White Helmets. Now that the two most prominent digital distributors of TV- and theater-quality video content have distributed Academy Award winners, which digital platform will be the next one to snag an Oscar? Two interesting candidates for that title, as identified last night, are YouTube and Apple.
Apple’s claim to a future Oscar is backed up by data provided by Gene Munster of Loup Ventures, who shared a bullish forecast with outlets like Variety. The Cupertino-based tech giant has recently fired up its original content plans through shows like Carpool Karaoke, and is it continues to invest more money into video, Munster believes it will reach the level on which Netflix and Amazon currently reside. “We think Apple will win an Oscar in the next five years,” reads a research note published by Loup. “That’s how long it will take for Apple to scale its original content spend from less than $200 million today to $5-7 billion.”
YouTube’s claim is more abstract. The video site’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, attended the most recent Oscars, and her tweet about the ceremony gave creator John Green an opportunity to share a positive outlook of his own.
@SusanWojcicki awesome! Have a great time. <5 years until first oscar for a movie distributed by YT.
— John Green (@johngreen) February 27, 2017
Most of YouTube Red’s projects come from YouTube stars, who aren’t exactly known as perennial Oscar contenders, but the premium platform will soon feature offerings from Hollywood notables like Dwayne Johnson and director Doug Liman. Since Google also has plenty of money to spend, it could soon find a project that wins an Oscar; a short produced by Google, Pearl, earned a nomination this year.
Oscar voters still seem deferential to projects that see traditional release in theaters, which hurts the chances of digital distributors. That said, companies like Netflix, Amazon, Apple, and YouTube are throwing around a ton of money, and in the coming years, their contributions to the award season picture will become increasingly hard to ignore.