Parody Rap Songs Are Why YouTube Won’t Have An Emmy-Worthy Prestige Drama Anytime Soon

The talk of the town last week among television critics and streaming video aficionados was the staggering 14 Emmy nominations earned by Netflix. Original Netflix series “House of Cards” brought in nine nominations while “Arrested Development,” which aired its fourth season exclusively on Netflix, earned three more nominations, including lead actor in a comedy.

With this momentous occasion for nontraditional entertainment platforms like Netflix, the proverbial gauntlet has now been thrown in YouTube’s direction. “Covert Affairs” actor Chris Gorham wrote an op-ed for Mashable last week which begged the question: “Is YouTube Next?”


It doesn’t necessarily matter that YouTube is vastly different to streaming video sites like Netflix and Hulu. For most people, any form of serialized video content outside of film falls into two categories: television and non-television. YouTube, with the advent of pay-to-view channels and multi-channel networks, has somehow found itself as a competitor in that non-television category right next to Netflix.

Both Hulu and Netflix are on the steady come-up as full-fledged entertainment providers with critical acclaim to back up their exclusive shows, so what about YouTube?

Here’s the issue: YouTube must rely on partners to produce content, and the majority of these partners do not have the time or resources to create shows on par with “House of Cards.” Now it falls onto creators to seek out producers and investors to fund these projects and hopefully put them on YouTube. The problem with that, however, is that prestige dramas and the types of shows that receive Emmy nominations statistically (remember this for later in the article) would bomb on YouTube.


The overwhelming majority of Netflix users fall into the 25-45 age demographic; painting in broad strokes, this is your prestige drama crowd. YouTube on the other hand lists 18-34 year-olds as their main source of traffic with no mention of viewers 17 and under (third-party analysis estimates 17-year-olds and under as the second largest YouTube demographic).

There are definitely 17-year-olds who love the work of David Fincher AND parody rap songs equally, but understandably you can see where producers would be hesitant about launching an expensive prestige piece on YouTube.


You were supposed to remember that bit about statistics, and here’s why: some scripted dramas have done very well on YouTube — take Julia Stiles vehicle “Blue” for example. The show’s first season received over 20 million views and even put a few awards under Stiles’ belt. Statistically, this type of scripted drama should have tanked, yet it thrived with solid acting, writing and production.

Unfortunately, right now, this singular example of Emmy-worthy content on YouTube (Best Title Sequence doesn’t count) isn’t enough to convince investors to fork over that $4-6 million per episode amount that helped make “House of Cards” so damn successful.


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