TV Academies Settle Dispute Over Broadband Emmys

ATAS, NATAS agree not to give out separate awards for web content

The two television academies, Los Angeles-based Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and New York-based National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, have settled their differences over governing awards for broadband TV content.

After a years-long legal dispute, NATAS has dropped all appeals against arbitration won by ATAS, according to a statement issued jointly on Tuesday by the academies.

As a result, there will be no separate “Broadband Emmy” award for Web content. Rather, broadband content will be eligible for awards by genre. In other words, online comedy, drama or news series will compete for Emmys with comedy, drama and news on broadcast and cable.

ATAS, which administers the Primetime Emmy Awards, has already made Web content eligible for awards since 2007. By agreeing to the arbitration, NATAS, which administers Daytime Emmys, as well as awards for news, sports and other categories, will also recognize all content in this manner, rather than by delivery platform.

Last spring, the New York Supreme Court denied NATAS’s petition to vacate a December 2007 ruling against its creation of a new broadband Emmy Awards category. The decision was a victory for ATAS, and Tuesday’s announcement underlines that win for the West Coast academy.

The two parties went into arbitration because ATAS objected to NATAS’ creation of a new category for content made expressly for broadband. NATAS handed out several broadband Emmys at the Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards in September 2007.

Tuesday’s statement says the settlement will allow “the two academies to start discussions over areas of mutual interest.”