Netflix Defends Content Release StrategyBy: Chris Crum - January 23, 2014
Since Netflix has been offering its customers original shows, it has been offering them full seasons at a time, catering to the well-known binge-watching phenomenon.
Netflix’s competitors have often criticized this approach, and when the company changed the strategy up a little bit late last year with the launch of Turbo FAST, some questioned whether the company was straying from a strategy that maybe wasn’t the best idea to begin with.
According to Netflix, those people would be wrong. They’ve already since clarified that they would continue to launch entire seasons of shows at a time. The second season of Lilyhammer was recently released, and the full second season of House of Cards will launch next month. Turbo FAST, however, was released with six episodes at first, with more to come within a few months.
Some of Netflix critics have suggested that releasing a full season at once detracts from the social media buzz that can be maintained by releasing an episode per week. Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos was asked about this in a Google Hangout about the company’s Q4 performance.
He responded, “We’re very thrilled with the strategy today, and one of the things that I think dispels some of the concern or mythology about what happens to social media when you drop all the shows at once…check out the Google Trends for House of Cards and The Americans, which both debuted on the same day, and look at the pattern, and what you see is week over week over week, there is more chatter about House of Cards than there is about The Americans week over week over week.”
“And the same thing is true about The Bridge and Orange is the New Black,” he added. “They debuted on the same day. So I think that mythology should be pretty well dispelled by now, and the consumers really love it because they can really decide, ‘Hey, I’m gonna watch the whole show this weekend, I’m gonna watch one a week,’ or however they want to do it, so it’s really something the viewers love, and that’s why we love it.”
“And as far as Turbo‘s concerned, Turbo is not a serialized program at all, and kids don’t watch the same way that you and I do, and particularly the way that you and I watch serialized programming,” Sarandos continued. “So giving them five episodes enabled us to accelerate the availability to drop the episodes in the holiday period when kids are home watching a lot of shows, and it was a tremendous success. They watched all five. They watched them over and over again. They watched just the way kids watch cartoons.”
It’s true. They really do watch them over and over again.
“So we’re really thrilled with the strategy, and I anticipate that we’ll continue to play and tweak with it, but a departure from it with radically different kinds of programming doesn’t signal a change in the strategy,” Sarandos said.
Netflix talked up the success of Turbo FAST in a letter to shareholders, saying it had “been very popular with kids around the world, performing especially strong throughout Latin America.” While it only launched about a month ago, Netflix says it’s already on track to become one of the most popular kids series ever on Netflix.
That’s saying something. Keep in mind they used to have Nickelodeon content.
More kids shows from Dreamworks Animation are on the way to Netflix this year.
Image via YouTube