HBO leads Emmys with 34 new honors to tout in streaming wars

Fans watch HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ series finale at a viewing party at Brennan's bar in Marina del Rey, California in this May 19, 2019 file photo. (AFP)
Updated 23 September 2019

HBO leads Emmys with 34 new honors to tout in streaming wars

  • HBO took home the best drama series for the final season of its global hit ‘Game of Thrones’
  • The accolades give HBO new bragging rights in the increasingly competitive battle for viewers of streaming video

LOS ANGELES: Longtime Emmy darling HBO scored more wins than any other network at Sunday’s Emmy awards, taking home 34 trophies including best drama series for the final season of its global hit “Game of Thrones.”
The accolades give HBO new bragging rights in the increasingly competitive battle for viewers of streaming video.
HBO is available on pay TV and online. Parent company AT&T Inc. plans to unveil an expanded streaming service called HBO Max next spring to compete with Netflix Inc, Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video, new offerings from Walt Disney Co. and Apple Inc, and others.
“Game of Thrones” scored 12 awards overall, while HBO’s limited series “Chernobyl” won 10.
Amazon landed the Emmy for best comedy series and five other awards for its quirky British comedy “Fleabag,” one of the company’s 15 wins. “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” an Amazon comedy about a 1950s housewife-turned-comedian, received eight Emmys.
Netflix, the company that pioneered streaming video, finished in second place overall with 27 awards. They included best television movie for interactive film “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” which let viewers choose plot turns throughout.
Executive producer Charlie Brooker, while accepting the award on stage, thanked Netflix’s creative and technical team “who pulled off a magic trick.”
HBO had dominated the Emmys for years with hits such as “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City.” It ran up a 16-year streak as the most-honored network until 2018, when Netflix and HBO tied with 23 awards each.
HBO’s Emmy dominance this year is welcome news for AT&T, a telecommunications and media conglomerate that is under pressure from activist investor Elliott Management Corp. to improve its business. AT&T in 2018 bought Time Warner, owner of HBO, CNN and Warner Bros.
Among traditional networks, the National Geographic cable channel secured eight wins, most of them for documentary “Free Solo,” and Comcast Corp’s NBC won seven.


Australian papers censor front pages in press freedom campaign

Updated 21 October 2019

Australian papers censor front pages in press freedom campaign

SYDNEY: Newspapers across Australia ran heavily redacted front pages on Monday in protest against government secrecy and a crackdown on press freedom, a rare show of unity in a fractious media landscape.
National and regional mastheads including The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review hit newsstands Monday with most of their front-page news stories blacked out.
Advertisements have also been rolled out across the country’s television networks, asking viewers to consider the question: “When the government hides the truth from you, what are they covering up?“
The campaign by the Right to Know coalition was sparked by federal police raids on the national broadcaster ABC and a News Corp. journalist’s home earlier this year over two stories that had proved embarrassing for the government.
It centers on six demands, including exemptions for journalists from strict national security laws that have created a complex web of provisions critics say too easily ensnare reporters doing their jobs.
“The culture of secrecy that has descended through these legal provisions restricts every Australian’s right to know and goes well beyond the original intent of national security,” Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance union head Paul Murphy said.
“The police raids on the home of News Corp. journalist Annika Smethurst and the headquarters of the ABC in Sydney were direct attacks on media freedom in Australia but they are just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
Three journalists are facing possible criminal charges in the wake of the raids — Smethurst for revealing the government was considering plans to spy on Australians — and two ABC reporters for exposing alleged war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.
The media groups are also calling for enhanced protections for public sector whistleblowers — who have also faced charges for leaking to the press — as well as an improved freedom of information regime and defamation law reform.
Australia’s defamation laws are notoriously complex and among the strictest in the world.
And unlike most liberal democracies, Australia does not have a bill of rights or constitutionally enshrined protections for freedom of speech.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government would “always believe in the freedom of the press,” but he also insisted that journalists were not above the law.
“The rule of law has to be applied evenly and fairly in protection of our broader freedoms, and so I don’t think anyone is, I hope, looking for a leave pass on any of those things,” he told reporters during an official visit to Jakarta.
A press freedom inquiry is due to report its findings to parliament next year.