For all of the talk this week about Netflix’s deal with Disney finally coming into full effect in September, streaming fans should keep in mind that the Disney/Marvel/Pixar titles we only part of an overall strategy from Netflix to future proof the streaming network. While I think it is amusing that so many entertainment outlets finally realize that Netflix is a company that acts and maneuvers 5 steps ahead of its competition we have been reporting on Netflix’s long game for a year or more. This is why Netflix decided against the EPIX deal. In fact, the plan went into effect shortly after Netflix dropped its agreement with STARZ. But at the time, the over-reactionary blogosphere and many mainstream news outlets decided to write clickbait stories about the death of Netflix and the rise of Hulu and Amazon. So instead of simply recalling what has already been covered here and in other places, Let’s take a look at another piece of Netflix’s master plan. Netflix Original Series.
When Netflix first began planning for the future, which is about to be the present and announced an investment in original and exclusive content in the wake of dropping STARZ the idea of original streaming content was a novel one. While HBO and other cable networks had been building libraries of series for years streaming had been relegated making whatever it could get the rights to for the least amount of money available and in the case of many outlets, it still is. But when Netflix announced House Of Cards it was the first drop in a torrent. The service has quietly built a massive library of original titles. How massive? Netflix currently has 137 original titles in its catalogue. If that number sounds too big log in and see for yourself. Right now there are 31 of its shows renewed for another season. At least 14 Netflix originals including Marvel’s Daredevil, are pending and those are just a percentage of the over 137 Netflix original productions available via the service. The streaming network’s stunning growth of originals was spurred by the company’s interest in exclusive content and a lack of interest in overpaying for content that could be found on multiple services.
Not all of Netflix’s originals are TV series, they include original movies, TV shows, documentaries and a growing library of one-shot specials featuring stand-up comedians. The dearth of programming on Netflix compared to the offerings from its rival Amazon is stunning. Currently, Amazon, which has been releasing its own original content including numerous pilots over the past 3 years has only 6 original series set to be renewed including the critically acclaimed Transparent. Many of the series the company has put out never went any further than the pilot episode, but to be fair that is part of Amazon’s model, which invites users to choose among numerous shows as to which will be made into a series.
Not all of Netflix’s investments are Emmy-nominated hits but they provide a strong dose of insight into what the company’s strategy is. Netflix does not value catalogues that offer the same thing Amazon and Hulu do. And it’s quite apparent that over 75 million customers don’t either. The original series though do include the ever growing Marvel Movie Universe based series that began with Daredevil and now include Jessica Jones, the upcoming Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the recently announce Punisher. Marvel titles are viewing gold at the moment, but Netflix’s originals are not all dark and brooding. The big red machine also has a major hit with The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and while it was panned by almost everyone Netflix also caught lightning in a bottle with Fuller House. Its investment in children’s programming which includes shows from, Puss In Boots, based on the character from the Shrek franchise and Veggie Tales which builds on the success of the popular Christian based series. We have not even delved into Netflix’s investment in original movies.
So as Netflix moves forward with its strategy and locks down the top 10 movies of the next few years which will undoubtedly be dominated by Marvel and the Starwars franchise it will be supplementing them with a quickly growing library of titles that nobody else has. We will see if it continues to win out going forward.