Content plan

Netflix Makes Too Many Bad Shows (Quantity Isn’t Better Than Quality)

Netflix is ​​run by smart people.

They knew full well that their near-monopoly on old movies and TV shows that they had when they first launched weren’t going to last forever. Eventually, they knew that the studios that made “Parks and Recreation,” “The Office,” and “Mad Men” would retire their titles when their licensing agreement expired and build their own platform with them.

But the Netflix one (NFLX) – Get the report from Netflix, Inc. The big plus was that it was the first streaming service, so it had time to make a name for itself while all the major studios in Hollywood figured out how to create their own platform.

That’s why, starting in 2013, with the release of catchy original dramas such as “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards,” the service began producing original material to create its own catalog.

The theory was that when Paramount (PARA) Comcast (CMCSA) – Get Comcast Corporation’s Class A Reportand Warner Bros. (DISCA) – Get the Class A report from Discovery, Inc. resumed their flagship titles, Netflix would have enough hardware to stay competitive.

“I suspect licensing of popular titles will continue to be part of the competitive landscape for streaming platforms,” ​​said Tina Mulqueen, CEO of Kindred PR and Founder of Et al. Media“but the real differentiators are going to be the quality and speed of the original content.”

And therein lies the problem.

Netflix came from a tech background, not a creative background. Rather than the strategy-based approach of a network like HBO or NBC (Peacock), Netflix’s philosophy was simply to commission as much content as possible, for as many different backgrounds as possible.

If you vomit against the wall enough, something will stick, right? And that approach has only intensified as Netflix has begun experimenting with reality shows, TV documentaries, and as much cheap unscripted material as it can get its hands on.

This approach certainly ensured that there was a ground to watch on Netflix, even as Comcast placed most NBC Universal shows and movies on Peacock, and Warner Bros. on HBO Max and Paramount Global on Paramount+ and so on.

But how much was it value watching?

Netflix has too much content

A few years ago, “Saturday Night Live” satirized this buffet-style approach with a skit featuring Mikey Day as the Netflix executive who threw money at literally every idea presented to him. , even though it was half-baked.

Day now hosts the Netflix cooking game show “Is Is Cake?”, in which people guess whether an item is or isn’t cake. It’s one of the weirdest things the service has ever cooked up, and it’s unclear why it exists. Surely someone would love such a thing, a Netflix exec must have thought.

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And now that random approach has caught up with Netflix. It’s not like Netflix only makes bad shows, far from it. Many critics said that the anime series “BoJack Horseman” is the bachelor biggest show a streaming service has never produced, and the new season of “Russian Doll” is praised.

But it’s very easy for noise to drown out the signal at this point, as many quality shows go unnoticed when they’re one of the twelve full-season content drops Netflix released on Friday morning. It’s gotten to the point where even when there are good things, it’s harder than ever to find them on Netflix.

“Netflix initially offered a very utilitarian approach to streaming. It emphasized ease of use and customization, which appealed to early adopters and was more than enough to break through to the masses,” says Jason Cieslak, president, Pacific Rim, Siegel+Gale, an agency leading global brand. “It was, by all accounts, a remarkable evolution from a company whose previous distribution was DVDs via US mail.

“But over time, Netflix hasn’t really embraced the production quality, franchise-building mentality, and brand-building that traditional Hollywood actors have always done,” Cieslak adds.

“And those three things started to expose them and make them vulnerable to traditional Hollywood incumbents. And while Netflix is ​​surely moving quickly to address these issues, the industry has changed, and the old guard is now getting a new lease on life. And it’s not Netflix and everyone anymore. Disney+, HBOMax, AppleTV and Amazon are hot on their heels.

What should Netflix do next?

Disney+ (SAY) – Get The Walt Disney Company Report has the advantage of possessing some of the most recognizable properties in the world. But he’s also had patience, only dropping one or two episodes of his latest Marvel or Star Wars show at a time. While some things worked better than others, even a mid-level hit like “The Book of Boba Fett” didn’t get lost in the mix. Apple+ (AAPL) – Get the Apple Inc. report. takes a similar approach.

In contrast, Netflix simply floods the area, but then angered fans online by canceling shows with cult but dedicated follow-ups, like “Altered Carbon,” “American Vandal,” or the remake of “One Day at a Time.” “. (IE, the kind of thing Netflix was supporting in the beginning.) So the mistrust is high and fans are starting to worry about starting a new show unless it gets canceled as soon as it starts to get good.

“First I want to give credit to Netflix for taking risks with content where other entertainment platforms wouldn’t, resulting in hits like ‘Stranger Things’, which was rejected by d ‘other networks,’ Mulqueen says.

“The green light for so much content, however, created quality issues and cancellations that impacted the platform,” which wonders if its recent success with some documentary hits may have misled Netflix. reality-based content in the aftermath of “Tiger King”, which could hurt its overall content strategy, especially in a more competitive landscape.”

But now is the time to focus and exercise some quality control, and get back to focusing on the fundamentals.

“Netflix needs to balance how to get audiences to consume content while on the platform and how to produce content that brings audiences to the platform in the first place,” says Mulqueen. .

“Outside of a perfect storm of quarantine and big cat sensationalism, much of the unscripted content is unlikely to be a pop culture phenomenon. Refining their content strategy and continuing to innovate will be essential for Netflix to remain competitive.