Netflix aiming to be House of Content
Netflix is underlining the importance of in-house production as it released 13-episode series House of Cards earlier this month. The series, starring Kevin Spacey, is a brilliant remake of a 20-year old BBC miniseries by the same name. Netflix is living up to the old saying ”Content is king” as it exploits the series globally.
House of Cards has been sold to many countries in which Netflix doesn’t operate yet. Canal+ picked up French broadcast and SVoD rights and Sky Deutschland did the same for Germany. Rights for Portugal, Turkey, Israel and Russia also are sold with more countries to follow. Studio giant Sony Pictures Television is distributing the series.
Own production is an essential element of building a brand. Even small TV channels want to stand out from the crowd and have their own news operations. Own production is an expensive way to stand out and Netflix is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into original production. All this is on top of the normal acquisition expenses. But why offer only programs that can be seen elsewhere, Netflix is reasoning.
The viewers’ insatiable appetite to watch full seasons at on go is a reality. Research shows that nearly 20 % of the Netflix vierwers watched all 13 episodes in the first 12 days it became available. By offering all episodes simultaneously Netflix is simply responding to the consumers’ needs.
Another revolution is the fact that episode lenghts become irrelevant. The dramatic arc of the story line results in varying episode lenghts. The traditional half an hour and one hour programming slots no longer apply to the online distribution.
If anyone doubts the newcomer’s prospects, let’s remember the early days of the American cable television’s own production. In the beginning, most of the stuff was dreadful, but soon it started to compete with the networks’ own productions. HBO’s success is a great example of results of producing original content.
It takes loads of money and a long time to build up a meaningful proramming library. Netflix is well on its way in leveraging the content market with its new assets.
Soon the original productions expand into children’s programming. Netflix struck a deal with Dreamworks to produce animated series Turbo: FAST, which will debut this December. Netflix will also release a horror drama Hemlock Grove in April. In May it will debut another remake, a hit sitcom Arrested development
It is bold to say, as one TV veteran did, that Netlix’s productions are an end to an era. But slowly, the scheduled TV channels will loose the battle with the online offering. In the future, the consumer, not the content, is king.