The SAG Awards Will Stream On Netflix Starting Next Year

Hear that faint sound, far off in the distance? That's the winds of change, folks.

We're well and truly in the thick of the Streaming Era, as major platforms like Netflix and Prime Video have emerged as genuine competition for any given film looking for a distribution partner. Now, even awards season can't escape the gravitational pull exerted by the streamers. Could this be a way to solve the issue of flagging television ratings that have dogged even the top awards shows in the last several years? Who knows! This latest development is fascinating, nonetheless.

In a surprise announcement, Netflix has revealed that it will stream the heralded Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards ceremony live for subscribers, beginning in 2024. But even this year's ceremony is set to undergo a major change, as well. Netflix will stream the 29th annual SAG Awards, set to air the night of February 26, 2023, exclusively on Netflix's YouTube channel. The timing is certainly well-planned, as the SAG nominees have only just been announced earlier this morning.

In a statement, Netflix Head of Global TV Bela Bajaria had this to say:

"The SAG Awards are beloved by the creative community and viewers alike, and now even more fans around the world will be able to celebrate these talented actors. As we begin to explore live streaming on Netflix, we look forward to partnering with SAG-AFTRA to elevate and expand this special ceremony as a global live event in 2024 and the years to come."

Netflix partners up with SAG-AFTRA

The news of Netflix partnering up with SAG comes as somewhat of a public reversal for Netflix, as pointed out by journalist Kyle Buchanan. Less than a year ago, Netflix head Ted Sarandos shot down any prospect of the company making a move for the Oscars or any other award telecast, saying: "We're not really in the live broadcast space. And I think it works better live. It's like sports."

So how's this for an about-face? Described as "a new multi-year partnership between Netflix and the SAG Awards," this deal marks a significant step forward for streaming services making a major play for awards recognition and prestige. Famously, Netflix has spent the last several years striving to acquire films that would set them up for awards season glory — hence their hefty investments in perennial Oscar darlings such as Martin Scorsese, Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro, and many more. Well, this could very well be the move that puts the stigma attached to the phrase "straight-to-streaming" to bed, once and for all.

In any case, it'll be interesting to see whether this leads to any tangible increase in viewers. Many awards shows have increasingly suffered ratings lows on national telecasts, catering more and more towards a shrinking demographic of film-obsessed fans who still care about such things. Moving a ceremony like the SAG Awards to Netflix's YouTube account and, eventually, Netflix proper could prove to be the perfect avenue for all parties involved.

This year's SAG Awards will air on Sunday, February 26, 2023 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.