When Breaking Bad won its first Emmy for best drama series on Sunday night, the show’s creator mused that he had thought the award would go instead to the Netflix(s nflx) original series House of Cards.
House of Cards, as it turned out, was shut out of the major categories despite receiving 14 nominations. Netflix, though, was gracious in defeat, telling its nearly half-million Twitter followers to hail the Breaking Bad king:
— Netflix US (@netflix) September 23, 2013
The tweet, of course, wasn’t just Netflix being magnanimous. It was also a reminder to viewers that its home-streaming service was the place to catch up on earlier episodes of AMC’s Breaking Bad.
In this sense, Netflix wins even when it loses: if didn’t produce the Emmy-winning big prize, but it still distributes it. And it also won three Emmys of its own in other categories, the first such awards for an online TV service.
In the bigger picture, the awards night reflects just how successfully Netflix has come back from the brink. A year ago, its stock was in the toilet and it faced a content crisis as many of its original show contracts expired. Now it’s producing hits of its own — not just House of Cards, but Orange is the New Black too — while also re-upping its content cupboards with other hits. Meanwhile, as the New York Times notes, three of the four traditional TV networks earned fewer nominations than a year ago.