How much is Netflix reportedly paying per episode to stream NBC's new drama The Blacklist? A lot. In fact, it's being reported as possibly "the biggest subscription video-on-demand deal for a TV series."
Those are Deadline's words, referring to the sizable price Netflix is reportedly paying to acquire the streaming rights to the NBC drama from Sony Pictures TV. The deal is said to be $2 million per episode.
In terms of the hugeness of the deal, if "biggest" included the timeliness in which the episodes are being made available by comparison to their original air date, it falls a bit short of Amazon Prime's Under the Dome and Extant's same-week deals. But this is about the money and what's being paid for the streaming rights to the series. By the reported figure, it sounds like Netflix really wants The Blacklist. Deadline said this deal "is said to be the biggest for an off-network series paid by Netflix (or any others streaming company)." It beats out Netflix's deal for The Walking Dead, which is "believed" to be $1.35 million per episode.
The Blacklist comes from Jon Bokenkamp and stars James Spader as Red Reddington, a criminal who turns himself in at the FBI out of nowhere and offers to help them take down some of the most elusive criminals out there. Megan Boone plays FBI Special Agent Elizabeth Keen, a rookie profiler with whom Reddington insists on working.
Those looking to binge-watch Season 1 before Season 2 gets rolling will have their chance. Deadline says the episodes will be made available on Netflix next weekend, and that if Netflix's past practices apply future seasons would likely become available shortly after wrapping up at NBC. This appears to be a nice win for Sony on multiple levels, as it sounds like they're getting a substantial sum of money -- do the math on $2 million multiplied by 22 episodes -- and this should give people the chance to get caught up on the series with enough time to jump on board with the show when it premieres Season 2 on Monday, September 22. If things work out that way, that might ensure that The Blacklist will, at the very least, maintain its strong viewership going into the second season, if not improve on it, especially over time as more people get caught up.
The Blacklist broke ten million viewers per episode for most of its 22 episodes in Season 1. For an NBC series, that's impressive. (For reference, Parenthood rarely breaks 4 million per episode. Chicago Fire's numbers fall between 6 million and 8 million per episode.) But if we know Netflix well enough -- ok, it's hard to claim that we do, since they tend to be pretty tight-lipped about their own numbers, but let's speculate -- there's a good chance they're going on more than just ratings when deciding what shows are worth a pretty penny for their streaming rights.
Netflix's Ted Sarandos has spoken about how subscribers' viewing habits impact their choices as it relates to their programming. They do the math on things subscribers watch frequently, whether it's a specific actor or director or genre -- or an overlap of specific things -- and it allows them to better evaluate what their subscribers want. It's with that in mind that we're inclined to wonder what factors were involved in Netflix's decision to shell out such a hefty sum for The Blacklist. Was it just the ratings? Or have subscribers proven to be prone to James Spader and crime dramas with FBI settings?