Netflix plans to double its original content push next year
Netflix’s newfound love affair with original content isn’t disappearing any time soon: The company reportedly wants to double its original programming slate in 2014.
That would give Netflix eight different series next year, according to The Hollywood Reporter in an interview with Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. Possible original series creators tossed around in the article included Hollywood heavyweights Warren Beatty, Sofia Coppola, and Jodie Foster.
Netflix’s plan to offer original programming became one of the big entertainment and technology stories of the year following the release of House of Cards in February. Netflix had previously experimented with original programming in early 2012 when it debuted Lillyhammer starring Steve Van Zandt. House of Cards, however, was the service’s biggest and most widely studied original launch by far due its star power—in addition to Kevin Spacey, the show stars Robin Wright, Kate Mara, and was directed by David Fincher—and the whopping $100 million price tag Netflix paid for the series.
The political drama, based on an earlier British series, won critical acclaim following its debut, and Netflix was praised for offering House of Cards in so-called binge format. This allowed fans to watch as many episodes of the first season as they liked in one sitting. Recently, the creator of AMC’s Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan, credited Netflix and its binge viewing capabilities as one reason his show has seen so much success.
The combination of binge viewing and original programming appears to be paying for Netflix as well. In late April, Netflix reported it had 29.17 million viewers, just barely ahead of HBO’s reported subscriber base of 28.7 million.
Viewership for Netflix original programming may also be pretty big. Although Netflix doesn’t release its audience metrics, Sarandos told THR that House of Cards earned an audience on par with mainstream shows like The Walking Dead. Hemlock Grove, another Netflix original, had an even bigger initial audience than House of Cards, THR reported.
For all its success, however, Netflix plans to stick with its formula of purchasing shows from production houses that are already in development, Sarandos said. That’s opposed to developing original programming from scratch, which is the route Amazon is taking with its slate of TV pilots. Under Amazon’s scheme, viewers get to rate each pilot episode, and Amazon will take those rankings into account when it green lights shows for full season productions.
Following House of Cards, Netflix has some big original programming scheduled for the coming months including the fourth season of the cult favorite Arrested Development, which starts Sunday. Ricky Gervais’ show Derek makes its U.S. debut on Netflix in September, Orange is the New Black from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan arrives in July, and the Wachowskis hit Netflix in 2014 with the sci-fi series Sense8.