Amazon, YouTube Get Their Own First Emmys (But Not For Shows)

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With all the buzz surrounding Netflix’s Emmy nominations, Amazon and YouTube are angling to grab a little bit of the spotlight for themselves, too. Both have now also picked up Emmy awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, though unlike Netflix’s some 14 nominations, these Emmy’s are for technical achievements, not content.

In YouTube’s case, the company won its first Technical Emmy for personalized video recommendations, meaning the algorithm that powers YouTube’s recommendations, as reported by The Verge earlier this week.

Today, Amazon is announcing it also has just received its first-ever Emmy Award. The Academy is honoring Amazon’s Instant Video service, with a 2013 Technology & Engineering Emmy Award for its work on Personalized Recommendation Engines for Video Discovery. So yes – another award for video recommendations.

More specifically, explains Amazon, this refers to the “tools and algorithms that enable customers to easily find and discover videos that cater to their tastes and preferences,” including its Video Finder, which lets users discover movies and shows by mood and topic, like “Dystopian,” “Love,” “Zombies,” or “Revenge,” for example. Shows are also ordered by customers’ own viewing behavior, habits, and likes.

To be fair, the Netflix nominations were a big deal this year, because they represented that streaming services could not just achieve technological feats, but could actually produce quality content. After all, The Academy has not been blind to the innovations emerging from this sector – they’ve previously given Netflix a Technical Emmy of its own, for example, .

But for YouTube and Amazon, getting Technical Emmy’s could also be seen as that first step toward building up a service that eventually will demand attention for its programming, too. Though people today still think of YouTube as goofy cat videos and Amazon Video as a collection of content licensed from studios, those businesses are expanding.

YouTube, it was also announced this week, is opening up a creative studio space in New York in fall 2014, which will provide production and post-production facilities to YouTube creators. This will be the company’s fourth such endeavor – following similar launches in L.A., London, and Tokyo. The idea here is to enable creators via its platform, rather than develop, test and market its own shows. When a YouTube video wins an Emmy, like this one did in 2009, its the creators, not the network that led to its broader exposure, that gets the glory.

Meanwhile, Amazon is investing in original content itself, with Amazon Studios now developing and testing 26 movies and 24 series, only some of which will eventually get the greenlight. Amazon has already greenlit some series, like Alpha House and Betas, along with kids pilots Annebots, Creative Galaxy and Tumbleaf, for instance, but so far, none of its programs are on par with those Netflix got the nods for, like House of Cards, Arrested Development, or Hemlock Grove.

Correction: We previously listed some Amazon series as being in production which had actually not been given the greenlight. The article has been changed to reflect.