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Netflix Thinks of Original Content!

Discussion in 'More News from Your Google TV News Team' started by alphawave7, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. alphawave7

    alphawave7 Moderator Staff Member

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    I suspected Reed Hastings would eventually move this direction, since they have cash and influence to negotiate decent deals with content distributors..so why not spend some to produce as well, and eliminate some more 'middlemen'. BBC and some small English production companies manage to crank out excellent quality programming (see House of Cards, mentioned in this story! Excellent show!) without all the studio layers and lawyers, promo-hype and advertising constraints, so it seems a natural transition for Netflix to consider testing the concept on their service too! :cool:

    "The entertainment-biz press, led by a report in Deadline.com, has the news this morning that Netflix may be about to acquire a high-profile original drama—political thriller House of Cards from David Fincher and Kevin Spacey—by outbidding the likes of HBO. Does this mean, if the deal pans out, that Netflix wants to become a TV network?
    Actually, it could mean something bigger: the beginning, albeit the very beginning, of a much-theorized about move to a business model in which TV networks are optional.
    Why do you watch TV networks at all? You don't go to the movie listings and say, "Gee, I wonder what Paramount has showing this week!"—you just look for a movie. The reason for TV's configuration was, first, technical and practical. A network controlled the means of distribution: it had the hardware and the system of affiliates that were necessary to literally beam a program from a tape somewhere into your living room......



    ......Right now, if you're selling a show, you have to be very conscious of its fit with a particular network's brand: is it an NBC show? CBS? Showtime? TNT? You'll recall that when Lone Star flamed out, there was a lot of talk that it was a bad fit for network TV, but it was hard to figure what cable network it would have been good for: it probably was not aggro enough for FX, it seemed a little too conventional for HBO, etc.
    Once entities like Netflix can acquire programs—without having to be "programmers"—that dynamic could melt away. You no longer have to fit a show to a channel, you just have to fit it to an audience.
    Of course, all this is preliminary: the deal may not come off, or, as The Wall Street Journal theorizes, this could just be a play by Netflix for leverage with TV networks. But as more and more non-TV-channel entities get a direct pipeline onto your screens—be it Netflix or Hulu or Facebook or Amazon—there may be more channels for getting around making deals with channels.


    Read more Here on Time's Entertainment Blog 'Tuned In'
     
  2. sparkyscott21

    sparkyscott21 Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]
    There is a new competitor for HBO and Showtime in the television landscape - and, for the first time, it is not a television network.

    Netflix, the popular online film service, said on Friday that it had licensed the exclusive rights to "House of Cards," a show that is to be directed by David Fincher, the director of "The Social Network," and to star Kevin Spacey.

    The deal immediately makes Netflix a player in premium television programming.

    "House of Cards," a serialized political drama, will look and feel like a traditional TV show, but it will not be distributed that way. Rather than having its debut at a certain time and date on a TV channel, "House of Cards" will have its debut online, where there are no set showtimes. It will be marketed through Netflix's recommendation engine. And it will probably be released in batches, several episodes at a time, since subscribers like to binge on serialized shows.

    "Just a couple years ago, this would be completely unheard of," Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer for Netflix, acknowledged in an interview. "It speaks a lot to how quickly this market is emerging and to how quickly Netflix has become a real, legitimate entertainment brand in the eyes of both consumers and content creators."


    [​IMG]

    The deal, first previewed several days ago by Deadline.com, underscored just how muscular Netflix had become in the media business. By licensing "House of Cards," Netflix is essentially selling itself to Hollywood as an alternative to networks like HBO - and indicating that it is willing to pay high prices for high-quality shows. Netflix would not comment on the value of the deal, but it was believed to be close to $100 million.

    "Netflix is the original unbundled TV purveyor - the opposite of a network," said Terry Heaton, a new media expert and the author of the PoMo Blog. He said the Netflix move was bold and "a big loud knock on the door" for other companies.

    Analysts said that through the deal, Netflix was both striving to differentiate its service and to reduce its dependence on films and TV shows licensed from third parties. Netflix has become a target of HBO and that network's parent company, Time Warner, as well as other major media companies, and it is likely to face much steeper costs for those licenses.

    Netflix has more than 20 million subscribers, and it is adding more rapidly, thanks in part to the proliferation of connected screens like iPads.

    Ingrid Chung, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, upgraded Netflix to buy from neutral this week. She said in an analyst's note that about 27 percent of consumers in the United States now stream movies and TV shows over the Internet, up from 16 percent at the same time last year. Many do so through Netflix, which Ms. Chung said "now has sufficient scale to make it difficult for new entrants, given low price points and expensive content costs."

    Netflix's stock, which nearly quadrupled last year, closed Friday at $209.40, down $4.50.

    A small group of other companies, Hulu, the YouTube division of Google and the Xbox division of Microsoft among them, have also contemplated distribution set-ups like the one conceived by Netflix and Media Rights Capital, which is producing "House of Cards."

    Asif Satchu, a co-chairman of Media Rights Capital, said he was shocked when he first saw how many subscribers Netflix had amassed.

    "They have a distribution platform that could rival the networks'," he said Friday in an interview.

    Netflix is licensing the North American rights to 26 episodes of the show. That is the equivalent of two seasons of a cable television drama. That is a departure from the normal model of TV production, in which one pilot episode is completed before one season is ordered. The production company will retain international, syndication and DVD sales rights.

    On Friday, Netflix sought to tamp down talk about the risk it was taking with the show. The company already streams past seasons of hundreds of TV shows, Mr. Sarandos said; the difference this time is that "we made a commitment prior to production."

    The show will not have its debut until late 2012, giving the producers ample time to "get the show right," Mr. Satchu said.

    Based on a novel of the same name about an ambitious British politician, "House of Cards" was made into a BBC miniseries in 1990. The producers of that version will serve as the executive producers of the new one.

    One of the chief advantages "House of Cards" will have is the on-demand nature of the Netflix service. Because TV networks have schedules, "when a show fails, it's because it failed to aggregate an audience at the time it was on television," Mr. Sarandos said. "There could be a million different reasons for that failure - it's not just because the show isn't good."

    He continued, "There's nothing in our model that makes a show more valuable if it can attract a large audience at a specific time. As long as it happens in the life of the license, it's fine by me."


    Netflix is not in any active discussions about picking up other shows, Mr. Sarandos said, but he is prepared to bid on others in the future. He expressed a particular interest in serialized shows like "24" and "Lost," which have enduring popularity on Netflix.

    "The economics of serialized one-hour dramas are not looking great for networks, but they're really popular for viewers," he said. "We can be the savior to this genre of television."

    By BRIAN STELTER
    Published: Friday, March 18, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
    Source​
     
  3. alphawave7

    alphawave7 Moderator Staff Member

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    Looks like the dawn of a new era in video content production AND delivery...and we are here to witness and benefit from it. :)
     

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