Netflix has been expanding into original content over the last several years, putting the binge-watch model on the map. Recently, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos explained that the subscription streaming service really wants to continue to expand original content to the point where viewers are getting new stuff every couple of weeks. The company is looking for:
“Not a show or not a new show for everybody, every two and a half weeks, but a new show for segments of the viewership every couple of weeks.”
What he seems to be discussing is expanding into more niche programming that will appeal to different segments of viewers down the line. Right now, Netflix has a few broad originals, including House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, and a few kiddie originals, like Turbo FAST and the upcoming Richie Rich program to fill out the schedule. These programs only hit the schedule on occasion, with no rhyme or reason, making it hard for everyone but diehard fans to stay updated on when new episodes will appear. A more regular schedule would make it easier for users to remember to check in and see what’s new.
Presumably, right now the budget isn’t there, or Netflix would be doing this sort of thing already. Honestly, the only way for Netflix to have the budget to be able to do something like this is to continue to expand, expand, expand (or to charge more). During a recent Q&A Sarandos explained how he sees the Netflix model working down the line.
“Well, I think within five years we definitely would love to see the product to be completely global, available everywhere in the world. I think that we can expand on our original programming, your thought frame from where we are today to probably as many as 20 original series. So the idea of launching original series or an original season of content every two and a half weeks or so [is appealing]--kind of getting into a regular drumbeat with consumer expectation around originals.”
Right now, cable and network television works because it is on a schedule. People know to check in for fall premieres in the fall and midseason premieres after the holidays are over. People still tune in for big “event” episodes, including the recent Arrow and The Flash crossovers, as well. Netflix prefers to give consumers a choice in terms of binge-watching or spacing out episodes, but it would still help if the streaming service were on more of a schedule.
Until Netflix finds a way to make enough money for this “every two weeks” dream to come true, consumers will have to accept that stuff is coming irregularly. On the bright side, at least the subscription streaming service is offering some good new stuff in the coming months, including the epic adventure series Marco Polo, which will hit the schedule on December 12.