With Its Emmy-Nominated Shows, Will Netflix Sway More People Away From Cable?

Chris CrumBusiness

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The Emmy nominations are out, and three Netflix original shows have earned fourteen nominations. This is a good sign for the future of high quality original online programming. We're talking about the Emmys here, and Netflix is just getting started. Its latest show Orange is the new Black is already getting as much positive buzz and as many positive reviews (if not more) than House of Cards did before it. House of Cards has nine nominations on its own.

Suffice it to say that Netflix is getting off to a pretty good start with its original programming initiative, which largely just began early this year with the release of House of Cards. Prior to that, Netflix just had one original series with Lilyhammer, which hasn't garnered the buzz that the rest of the shows have, but apparently has done well enough that Netflix decided to carry on with a second season, and the fact that the rest of the shows have generated so much buzz just might lead more people to check out Netflix's first foray into original content.

Beyond Lilyhammer, House of Cards, Hemlock Grove and Orange is the New Black all have second seasons in the works, and word is that the company is in talks to get another season of Arrested Development off the ground. The show's creator has seemed pretty interested, so if all of the puzzles pieces come together on that (particularly the cast members), it's highly likely that the show will continue.

To make a long story short, people are interested in watching what Netflix has to offer, and when it comes to original series, it's not like customers have to worry about titles going away before they get a chance to watch them like they do with other third-party content.

Emarketer has compiled some interesting data about Netflix subscribers and their television habits. They point to a June study from Cowen and Company, which found that about three-quarters of Netflix subscribers in the U.S. kept their cable, satellite or telecom pay TV subscriptions, but that another 20% said they got rid of theirs. It seems fairly likely that the trend will move toward cord cutting as Netflix along with its competitors like Amazon and Hulu get more original content and make deals to get other well established content.

"Cord-cutting is typically associated with those in the youngest age bracket, and the survey found this to hold somewhat true," eMarketer says. "However, there was also a notable propensity to cut the cord among Netflix subscribers between 30 to 44 years old, with 41% having cut pay TV. Overall, this age group was more likely to subscribe to Netflix than 18- to 29-year-old respondents."

Netflix subscribers

Original shows give Netflix an important weapon against its competition, though its competitors are working on similar strategies, but the licensing of third-party movies and television content will remain a critical component. As popular as House of Cards is, for example, it's nothing compared to the popularity of some cable TV shows.

The Wall Street Journal reports on a study by GFK, which found that House of Cards accounted for less than one percent of TV shows viewed by regular Netflix users during a week in April, compared to 3% for old episodes of AMC's Breaking Bad and Mad Men (each). Star Trek (the combined catalog) accounted for 4%. Even still, other popular TV shows like The Office, Fringe, 30 Rock and Glee were also around the 1% mark, according to the report.

Obviously Netflix knows how crucial it is to have the content people want to watch, which is why it constantly makes new deals to get it. Already in July, it has announced deals with Fox, CBS and PBS, which will enable it to exclusively stream reruns of New Girl, Super Why!, and The Bletchley Circle, as well as stream (non-exclusively) a variety of other popular shows. Meanwhile, to make room for stuff like this, Netflix also regularly filters out the stuff that people don't watch enough.

Netflix will report its quarterly earnings on Monday, so we'll get an idea how things are doing on the business side of things. Either way, users and critics appear to be on board with Netflix's strategy at large.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.