The Handmaid’s Tale made history last night when it took home the Outstanding Drama Series prize at the Emmy Awards, becoming the first show produced by a streaming site to take home what is arguably the TV industry’s top honor. Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel had a big night at the Emmys: Elisabeth Moss, Ann Dowd, and Alexis Bledel all won for their work acting in the series, while Bruce Miller and Reed Morano won for writing and directing, respectively.
However, old media was the real winner last night. Hulu is owned by Disney, 21st Century Fox, Comcast, and Time Warner. Three out of four of those companies also own traditional broadcast networks, which have been losing ground to cable and streaming sites for years when it comes to dramas that wow the Emmy voters. In fact, Hulu began as a platform to stream episodes and clips from TV shows, so its big win last night is a return to form of sorts.
A recent Quartz analysis of Emmy data shows that, prior to 2012, major network shows accounted for at least 40% of all best comedy or drama nominations. Now major network shows barely account for 25% of those nominations. The last time a network show won the top drama prize was in 2005-06 with Fox’s 24. Thanks to Hulu—and the success of The Handmaid’s Tale—the TV industry has a new script.