As far as serialized drama goes, Netflix are well worth keeping a seriable eye or two on. That’s because the popular streaming giant continues to target both original and older serialized content and is in negotiations to become a cable service.
Wired.com recently reported on the significance of Netflix’s deal with cable network Starz coming to an end, and why this signals greater investment in both original and recently-aired serialized content:
In the last quarter of 2011, over 60 percent of video streaming was TV content. Netflix’s bet is that this growth continues. Instead of putting its money into Starz or a premium cable substitute, it’s investing directly in serialized TV content — both original series like the recently-debuted Lilyhammer and upcoming House of Cards, as well as previously-aired dramas.
Instead of buying content from premium cable channels, Netflix is becoming a new, digital-first version of one, aiming for a similar kind of technological disruption in the entertainment industry to HBO’s over the last forty years.
Netflix are indeed making moves to themselves become a cable service; something that would add weight to their serialized intent. Deadline reports:
Last week, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that the prospect of having cable operators offer his streaming video service to their customers was “not in the short term” as a possibility — but was “in the natural direction in the long term.” His definition of “short” and “long” is open to debate, though: He’s already in talks with “some of the largest U.S. cable companies,” Reuters reports. It adds that by year end at least one cable company could offer Netflix on an experimental basis. The story doesn’t identify the operators negotiating with Netflix; Comcast recently unveiled its own online video service called Streampix. A Netflix-cable alliance could diminish the talk about cord-cutting. Some analysts say that pay TV subscribers looking to save money increasingly will cancel the $65-a-month video service and replace it with Netflix’s $7.99-a-month package, which mostly consists of older TV shows and movies. It also would give cable subscribers an alternative to premium channels led by HBO.
As I said, Netflix are definitely worth keeping an eye on regarding serialized content. Their first original drama series Lilyhammer recently debuted; with House Of Cards starring Kevin Spacey on its way. And let’s not forget the revived FOX comedy-serial Arrested Development slated for 2013.
Of course, the thing about Netflix is that they offer rewatch potential and ‘convenience viewing’ for serialized audiences. The more they round out their serialized content, the more impact they’ll potentially have on the landscape.
We’ll of course endeavour to keep you updated on Netflix and their serial moves.