The Interactive Media Peer Group and the Television Academy are excited to provide information to help entrants and member voters better understand the 2018 Emmys awarded for Interactive Media, which were redefined for 2017. If you've entered work or been a voter in previous years, you'll find the new category alignment and descriptions considerably different from what you knew before.

There are now four Category Awards recognizing excellence in Interactive Media programming, voted on by the entire Interactive Media peer group, each producing five nominees as well as one Emmy winner.

The one Juried Award focuses on a single area of competition recognizing outstanding innovation in interactive media. There can be one, more than one, or no winner in this area, depending on the view of the jury. All final round participants, who are invited to present their work in person to a blue-ribbon jury panel of industry experts, are recognized as Juried Award Finalists.

These Awards recognize excellence in interactive media productions that have been commercially deployed, domestically, in the period from June 1, 2017 - May 31, 2018.

Entries are limited to one entry per program.
Each entry is limited to a maximum of five entrants. Entrants may be individuals and/or companies.

Explore the FAQs below by clicking on the thumbnails for info and insights.

For more info on the Emmys in general, go here.
See the complete Rules & Procedures for 2018 here.

Updated Feb 28, 2018





AWARDS CATEGORIES, ELIGIBILITY AND VOTING
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1. EMMY AWARDS IN INTERACTIVE MEDIA — OFFICIAL DESCRIPTIONS 2018

These categories recognize interactive media work as described below. They do not recognize interactive platforms, such as electronic program guides, on-demand or time-shifted content viewing applications, etc. Programs that offer only a passive, linear viewing experience will not be considered in these categories. (See Short-Format Program categories 89, 90 and 91 to enter short form linear series.)

CATEGORY 44 — OUTSTANDING INTERACTIVE PROGRAM
Emmy(s) awarded to producer(s), organization(s), and/or team(s) responsible for the integrated interactive experience for a television program.

Awarded for excellence in the combined, overall interactive media execution for an existing program or series, containing programming and features that extend the program experience beyond passive viewing, often across multiple platforms.




CATEGORY 45 — OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL INTERACTIVE PROGRAM
Emmy(s) awarded to the individual(s) or creative team(s) responsible for the integrated interactive experience of a stand-alone interactive television experience created originally for a digital medium.

In these programs, the interactive components are central and fundamental to the work itself, and emphasize viewer immersion and engagement in the storyline. Although not required to do so, these programs often enable audience interactions across multiple platforms.

The submitted work may not be related to an existing television program or series, but may be derivative of, or related to, material from other media such as books, graphic novels, movies, theater, games or similar works.




CATEGORY 46 — OUTSTANDING CREATIVE ACHIEVEMENT IN INTERACTIVE MEDIA WITHIN A SCRIPTED PROGRAM
Emmy(s) awarded to the individual(s) or creative team(s) responsible for the creation of an outstanding interactive experience related to a scripted television program.

CATEGORY 47 — OUTSTANDING CREATIVE ACHIEVEMENT IN INTERACTIVE MEDIA WITHIN AN UNSCRIPTED PROGRAM
Emmy(s) awarded to the individual(s) or creative team(s) responsible for the creation of an outstanding interactive experience related to an unscripted* television program.

* "Unscripted" includes documentary, non-fiction, and reality and reality competition programs.

For Categories 46 and 47, the submitted interactive experience must complement, expand or extend the storyline through unique content, including integration of supporting interactive platforms and user-driven components. These experiences demonstrate outstanding use of creative elements, such as social engagement and user experience design, and typically involve individual digital executions for online, mobile, virtual/augmented reality, and/or other interactive means of deepening the audience's connection with the related program.




JURIED 48 — OUTSTANDING INNOVATION IN INTERACTIVE MEDIA
Emmy(s) awarded to the individual(s) or creative team responsible for the creation of a noteworthy, pioneering interactive experience that advances the state of the art for Interactive Media.

Entries to Juried 48 are reviewed and voted on by a panel of experts in interactive media, whose vote solely determines the Emmy winner(s). There is the possibility of one, more than one, or no winner in this category.

This award is intended to celebrate and encourage the exceptional distinctiveness, inventiveness, and relevance of the submitted work in expanding and redefining the conventions of interactive media experiences.

Winning submissions will push the envelope of connected entertainment in ways that are truly innovative, challenging the status quo and driving forward the industry's perception and application of interactive media in the context of television.





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2. OK, now tell me that in English.

First, please note that each program can only enter into one Interactive Media Category or Juried Award.

Categories 44-47 recognize projects that extend an existing linear television program into interactive digital formats, or are themselves a holistic, original interactive television program. All eligible members of the Interactive Media Peer Group vote on entries submitted to these four Categories, selecting the nominees (first round) and Emmy winners (final round).

Juried 48 for Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Media is different. A Jury of Interactive Media Peer Group members, chosen for their subject matter expertise, review the entries and vote to decide which one(s) are awarded an Emmy.

The key difference between the Category Awards and the Juried Award is that Category Awards are a head-to-head competition, resulting in five nominees for each Category, selected by all voting members of the Interactive Peer Group. The nominees are then voted on by peer group members during the Final Round, and a single Emmy winner emerges for each Category.

By contrast, the Juried Award is not a head-to-head competition. Rather, each entry is considered on its own merits. As a result, there may be one, more than one, or no Emmy winner in a given award year. There is no concept of "nominees" in the Juried Award process – although all entries invited to present to the jury are considered Juried Award Finalists, and receive an official certificate attesting to this status.





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3. Are these awards part of the Primetime Emmys?

Yes. The Categories for Interactive Media are among the Primetime Emmys awarded for outstanding achievements in television, along the awards for other Categories such as Outstanding Series, Outstanding Actor/Actress, Special Visual Effects, Costumes, Title Design and many others. Only a few Emmys (about 25) are announced and presented during the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast, airing this year on NBC on MONDAY, Sept. 17, 2018 (live to East and West coasts at 5:00pm PT / 8:00pm ET).

The awards for most of the Categories, including Interactive Media, are announced and presented at one of the two Creative Arts Awards ceremonies, held on two consecutive evenings during Creative Arts Emmys Weekend, September 8 (Saturday) and 9 (Sunday), 2018.

Nominees and winners in the Interactive Media competition are publicly recognized as nominees and winners of Primetime Emmy Awards, and receive official certificates from the Television Academy. Winners, of course, receive Emmy statuettes, presented on one of the two nights of the Creative Arts Awards.

In addition, all entrants invited to present to the final round jury for Juried category 48 receive official certificates from the Television Academy recognizing them as Juried Award Finalists.





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4. Am I eligible?

Yes! That is, if your project meets the entry requirements. You do NOT need to be a member of the Television Academy to enter. (If you would like to join the Television Academy, you can find membership information here.)

Eligible projects are interactive media productions anchored in an existing linear program or series, or that stand alone as original interactive storytelling experiences. Your production must have been commercially deployed in the U.S. between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018.

News, Sports, Daytime programming and Documentary programming fall under the domain of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Emmy Awards competition and are not eligible to compete in this Primetime Emmy Awards competition.

If you have an international project, or a project that is based on a purely technology or engineering achievement, you may not enter this competition. However, there are separate Television Academy competitions for territories outside of the U.S. (more information here), and for Engineering Emmy Awards (more information here).





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5. May I enter in more than one Category/Juried area?

No. Each project is limited to a single entry for Interactive Media. You may only submit it to either Category 44, 45, 46 or 47, OR to Juried 48. A project may not be submitted for consideration in more than one area under Interactive Media.





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6. What's the deal with voting?

For Categories 44, 45, 46 and 47
Submissions to these Categories are voted on by the entire voting membership of the Interactive Media Peer Group, between June 11th and June 25th, 2018, 10pm PT. The top vote-getters in each Category (normally 5) emerge as nominees, and these will be announced along with the Emmy nominees in all Categories on July 12th, 2018.

The nominees in each Category are then voted on in the Final Round, again by the entire voting membership of the Interactive Media Peer Group. The winning entry in each Category will be announced during the Creative Arts Awards Ceremony on either Sept. 8th or 9th, 2018.

Voting for both rounds is conducted online.

For Juried Category 48
Entries in Juried 48 are voted on by a Jury consisting of highly qualified members of the Interactive Media Peer Group selected for their subject matter expertise. All entries submitted Juried 48 are first reviewed by the Peer Group Executive Committee. Creators of the most compelling, highest-quality entries will be invited as Finalists to present their projects in person at the IMPG Jury Day in August (exact date TBD).

Voting by the jury takes place during the Jury Day and winners are notified within a few days. There may be one, more than one, or no Emmy awarded in the Juried Category. The winner(s) will be publicly announced at the IMPG's annual Celebration of Excellence in September, 2018. All invited entries receive an official Emmy certificate recognizing them as Juried Award Finalists.





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THE ENTRY PROCESS
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7. What do I need to submit to enter?

In addition to creating your entry on the Television Academy website here , you must submit certain required materials and, optionally, additional supporting materials:



Required Entry Materials


1) A written description: 1000 words or less (uploaded as a PDF), covering these topics:


     The Program: A brief background on the linear content that is the anchor or source material for the interactive entry.
     The Goals: A description of overall goals and strategy of the interactive entry.
     The Interactivity: An explanation of the features, functionality and user experience of the interactive entry.

   If you wish to optionally provide links to websites, microsites, etc. as additional supporting materials, please include them as part of the written description.

   Entries featuring 360° video or VR/AR may want to include a list of required or available platforms for your entry, and URLs/links to download an app or content, for viewers who have access to those platforms.

2) A video upload: A video demonstration, no more than three (3) minutes in length. The purpose of the video is to provide viewers with a credible walkthrough of the audience experience. We take these points very seriously. Videos that exceed three minutes, or are primarily marketing "sizzle reels" or promotional trailers will be disqualified.

The purpose of the video is to provide a walkthrough of the actual audience/viewer experience for benefit of Peer Group voters. The video should focus on illustrating a typical user scenario, showing the design, audience flow, and interactivity of the entry. It should emphasize the interactive elements (tasks/activities, influence on story outcome, content contribution, social media integrations, augmented/virtual reality, etc.) that deepen audience involvement in the world of the program and, in some cases, with other audience members.

If your entry features "mixed reality" content (360° video, AR, or VR content viewed through a head-mounted display) we very strongly encourage you to submit a flat equirectangular 360° video (.mp4 format) of the project in addition to the standard 2D demonstration video. This is to allow viewers without the intended equipment to get at least some sense of the project experience. This 360° video may be a POV walkthrough or a simple 360° sample of the content. (See below under Optional Supporting Materials.)

For more information on video specifications, see #11 "What are the format requirements for the video files?"


3) Thumbnail Image/Logo: A square (1:1) JPEG or PNG file, 300x300 pixels or similar, of an identifiable video frame or logo image for your entry, to be used as a thumbnail on a web page for viewers/voters.

4) Program Poster Frame Image/Logo: A high-resolution color image that recognizably visually represents your entry. This can be a show logo on a background, a still frame from your entry video, or another representative image. It should be a JPEG or PNG file at 16:9 aspect ratio, in the range 1280x720 to 1920x1080 pixels of resolution.

5) For 360 video/VR/AR submissions only: A list of required/available platforms for your entry, and (optionally) links to download the app or content, for viewers who have access to those platforms.

Optional Supporting Materials

• A supporting document of additional visual materials may be submitted. This should be a single PDF file containing visual elements such as wireframes, flow diagrams, screenshots, design comps, etc. that further demonstrate the goals, experience and execution of the project. Do not include links in this PDF.


• 360° Video: As noted above, if your project contains substantial "mixed reality" content, a 360° video of the project in addition to the standard 2D video is strongly recommended. This 360° video may be a POV walkthrough or a simple 360° sample of the content.
For technical specifications: #11. "What are the format requirements for the video files?"


Need more info?


For complete information on categories, entry requirements, and information on how to submit a successful entry, download the complete 2018 Rules and Procedures. The section on Interactive Media Awards can be found on pages 33-36.





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8. When is everything due?

You must create an entry for each submitted project on the Television Academy website here, by Friday, April 27, 2018 at 6:00pm PDT.

Entry materials associated with your entry may be uploaded until Friday, May 4, 2017, by 10:00 pm PDT. (see "#7. What do I need to submit to enter?")

Entry fees must be paid online by credit card by Thursday, May 31, 2018. Please note that entry fees will not be refunded for incorrect submissions.
(For details on fees, see #9 What does it cost to enter?)

What if I have additional entry content to submit after the deadline — is that accepted?

Entries made before the deadline may be modified by the entrant until 5:00 PM PDT on May 31, 2018. An example of a modification would be the replacement of an element of the project submitted for judging with another eligible element. There have been situations where eligible material was not available for submission until the very end of the eligibility period, May 31, 2018, due to situations such as a finale episode airing on or shortly before that date.

Please note that no modifications to any entry will be allowed after the nominating ballots are posted on June 11, 2018.





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9. What does it cost to enter?

If you're a Television Academy member (National Active or Associate), you are entitled to an entry fee discount on up to TWO entries as a benefit of membership. This benefit means that for an entry where the member is the sole entrant, the entire entry fee is waived. For an entry with multiple entrants, only the member's portion of the entry fee is waived. Additional entries will require the full entry fee. (Each member submitting an entry will need to enter his/her member number on the entrant page of the online form to receive their entry fee discount.)

The fee structure is as follows:

Categories 44 and 45:

  • For a program entry with a single entrant, the fee is $425.
  • For 2-4 entrants, the fee is $625.
  • For 5 entrants, the fee is $725.

Category 46, 47 and Juried 48:

  • For a single entrant, the fee is $225.
  • For 2-4 entrants, the fee is $425.
  • For 5 entrants, the fee is $525.

Entry fees must be paid online by credit card by May 31, 2018. Please note that entry fees will not be refunded for incorrect submissions.





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10. Where do I go to enter?

Start here to create a login and access the entry materials. This is where you'll provide your entry details, written description, and upload your videos and all supporting materials.





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11. What are the format requirements for the video files?

Demonstration Video:
Demonstration videos must be no more than three (3) minutes in length - longer videos will not be accepted. Please include the project name within the video filename. Your video must conform to these parameters:

  • Total running time: not to exceed 3:00 minutes
  • Filename: Must include the entry category, show name, and entry ID number.

    Example: CAT44_MyShowTitleEmmy2018_176514.mp4
  • File format: MP4 (preferred)
  • File size: up to 4GB
  • Video resolution: 1920x1080 or 1280x720 (16:9 HD) progressive
  • Video Codec: H.264 (preferred)
  • Bit Rate: 6-8 MB/sec
  • Audio: AAC, stereo, 192-320 kbps, 44-48 kHz
  • No slates, timecodes, bars & tones

Please note that if your project becomes a Nominee in Categories 44-47, or is invited to present for Juried 48, the Academy may request a 30-second cut-down of your submission video for presentation purposes - so plan ahead.

Image/Logo:
You'll be required to provide a single image that represents your project or show. This can be any image that recognizably visually represents your project, such as a show logo on a background, or a still frame from your entry video (i.e., a large thumbnail). This image should be a 16:9 aspect ratio JPEG or PNG file, in the range of 1280x720 to 1920x1080 pixels.

Thumbnail:
You must also provide a thumbnail image that represents your project or show for display on a web page for viewers/voters. Again, this can be any image that recognizably represents your project, this time as a square (1:1 aspect ratio) JPEG or PNG file. The recommended size is 300x300 pixels.

360 Video (optional):
For 360/VR/AR entries choosing to also submit a 360 video sample, please ensure your uploaded 360 video conforms to these specifications:

  • Total running time: not to exceed 3:00 minutes
  • Filename: Must include the entry category, show name, and entry ID number.

    Example: CAT44_MyShowTitleEmmy2018_360video_176514.mp4
  • File format: MP4 (preferred)
  • File size: up to 4GB
  • Video resolution: Max 4K input (4096x2048)
  • Video Codec: H.264 (preferred)
  • Dimensions: 2:1 Display Aspect Ratio
  • Depth: Monoscopic
  • Projection Format: Equirectangular
  • Audio: MP3 or AAC audio, at 128 kbps for optimal results
  • Note: make sure that your video and audio tracks are the same duration in order to avoid encoding errors caused by mismatched timecode.

Preparing your 360 Video:
Your video file needs to include certain metadata for 360° playback to be enabled. Follow these instructions to install an app that will add the necessary metadata into a new file for you.

  1. Download the 360 Video Metadata app for Mac or Windows.
  2. Un-zip the file, then open the 360 Video Metadata app. If you're on a Mac, you may need to right-click the app and then click Open.
  3. Select your video file.
  4. Select the checkbox for Spherical and click Save as. Do not select the "3D Top-bottom" checkbox.
  5. Enter a name for the new file that will be created.
  6. Save the file. A new file will be created automatically in the same location as the original file.
  7. Upload the new file to the appropriate Dropbox folder for the Category, as listed in item #10.

If you have any problems with your upload, contact pconnelly@televisionacademy.com




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TIPS AND TRICKS
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12. How are entries evaluated?

There are five key criteria that voters are asked to consider when evaluating entries:


  1. CREATIVE ACHIEVEMENT
    Creative elements should exhibit a compelling overall vision, masterful execution, consistent integration of elements, and fulfillment of goals expressed in the written description.
  2. USER EXPERIENCE
    Interactive media scenarios should provide user experiences that are easy to navigate, flexible, responsive, robust and rewarding. Each element of the overall whole should be seamlessly integrated and optimized for the intended platform(s).
  3. VISUAL DESIGN
    The overall look and feel of interactive media entries should be attractive, intuitive and consistently implemented. Graceful integration of layout and navigation elements, palette, graphics, video, audio, social networking opportunities and other features are considered essential to audience enjoyment and usability.
  4. ENHANCING THE SCENARIO
    Interactive media elements associated with linear programming should extend and enhance the viewer experience, communicating with characters or hosts, playing games, engaging other users, submitting user-generated content, voting, commenting, chatting and/or other ways of directly engaging the user in the program or series.
  5. ADVANCING INTERACTIVE MEDIA
    Submitted entries should reflect the evolving state of today's entertainment landscape by providing interactive experiences that are fresh, engaging, relevant, commercial viable and experienced by a large audience.




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13. Secrets to an excellent entry

  • Be concise, but as complete as possible (within the 1000-word limit) in the written portion of your entry, describing the source program, the interactivity and the goals of your submission. Describe the experience and execution in plain language, not marketing-speak or technical jargon.
  • Think about the evaluation criteria outlined in item #12 and endeavor to address them in your entry.
  • Take advantage of the opportunity to submit supporting materials. The more the voters know about your work, the better (though keep the length reasonable).
  • Make a compelling video that shows off your entry's interactivity. And don't submit a sizzle reel: show off how your project actually works! The purpose of the video is to provide viewers with a walkthrough of the actual audience experience. Don't waste the opportunity — and bear in mind that videos that are deemed overly promotional and not substantive enough about the experience will be disqualified.




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14. More FAQs (all the other random questions we could think of...)

  • Q: In prior years, there was Category 40 and Juried 41a-d. What happened to those sub-areas that were under the Juried Award (Multiplatform Storytelling, Original Interactive Program, Social TV Experience and User Experience & Design)?
  • A: Category numbers periodically change from year to year as the Television Academy adds new Categories to acknowledge excellence across disciplines, or removes or renumbers existing Categories. In 2017, the Categories for Interactive Media were significantly redefined as described in section 1 above.

    Why? As the industry and discipline of interactive media evolves, we recognize that the sub-areas previously identified under Juried Award 41 are now actually integrated within most interactive media projects. The specific craft/tactical areas previously recognized within former Juried Award 41 are now combined with the program award under former Category 40 to create two holistic program awards (Categories 44 and 45), and two creative achievement awards for specific interactive elements (Categories 46 and 47).

    Our current Juried Award 48 for Innovation is intended to produce a single Emmy winner whose work reflects truly groundbreaking work in interactive media, especially for work that is not easily placed in one of the Categories. (There is the possibility of one, more than one, or no winner in this Juried category.)

  • Q: I have a digital series that aired online. Does that qualify my project to enter into this category?
  • A: No. Programs that provide only a passive, linear viewing experience without substantive interactivity will not be considered in this category. Last year, the Emmys were expanded to include three Short Form Program categories (89, 90 and 91) specifically designed for these types of non-interactive short form linear programs (running time of ~15 minutes or less).

  • Q: If there are issues with my submission, will I be contacted or automatically rejected?
  • A: Please provide proper contact information so you may be contacted if there are format, content, or technical issues with your submission.

  • Q: I was invited to present for the Juried 48 award in Innovation (and I'm so excited!). Am I considered an Emmy Nominee?
  • A: No. Entrants invited to present for the Juried Award are considered Juried Award Finalists. While not the same as being a Nominee, you will receive an official Emmy certificate recognizing your Finalist status. You are permitted to publicize this information. If you awarded an Emmy by the jury, you will receive your statue during the Creative Arts Awards ceremony.

  • Q: I am submitting an entry that requires special equipment, such as a virtual reality or 360-degree video project. Am I required to send the equipment, such as a VR headset, for viewing?
  • A: No, you are not required to send a headset for viewing, but we have strongly recommended that any “mixed reality” submission include a flat 360° video for straightforward viewing by voters. You may also want to include additional information, such as links to a website or the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores, to enable interested viewers who have the appropriate viewing equipment to download the actual work if they wish.

    For such projects entered into Juried Category 48: if you are invited to present to the Jury, you may bring any necessary special equipment with you as part of your presentation. Arrangements will be made with the Academy Awards department staff closer to Jury Day.



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15. What if I still have questions?

For any additional questions, please contact Julie Shore, Vice President of Awards, at shore@televisionacademy.com





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Thanks for participating, and Good Luck!