As more and more viewers turn from traditional network programming to alternatives like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO, Netflix is becoming more like a network.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos told the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference this week that the streaming service would like to ramp up to launching a new show every two-and-a-half weeks within five years—or, put another way, to launch 20 new shows per year by 2019 or so.
Netflix “will eventually be the largest producer of original content in the world,” Sarandos said, as quoted by Ad Age.
The Netflix camp has already won several Emmy awards, although the wildly popular House of Cards picked up only one in 2014. (It garnered ten nominations total for 2014, and in 2013 it won three awards, including one for director David Fincher.) Another series, Orange Is the New Black, picked up three Emmy statuettes and was nominated for seven more. Other series, such as Hemlock Grove and Arrested Development, haven’t fared nearly as well critically, though they've at least made headlines.
But what Netflix won’t do, apparently, is push for series that can be watched worldwide. The darkly humorous Lilyhammer, set in Norway, was made by Netflix in conjunction with Norsk Rikskringkasting (NRK) and pulls 65 percent of its audience from that company, Sarandos said. That would seem to imply, for example, that Netflix might commission a Spanish-language drama that could run in North America, even if it pulls the bulk of its viewership from Central and South America.
Why this matters: If you think about it, Netflix’s direction is a natural one. HBO began alongside Showtime, Encore, and others as channels that would carry Hollywood movies for cable audiences. But they blurred together. Now, HBO and Showtime have moved to original programming as a way to differentiate themselves and win fans, with Game of Thrones and similar shows standing by themselves as must-see TV.