And by “eyeing,” I mean Netflix actually wants to further its commitment to the content production side of the entertainment business, something they’ve already established with the House of Cards endeavor. While original programming is one thing, can Netflix help revive previously cancelled television shows like Reno 911! and give them new life?
That’s certainly one of their goals, but the success will depend, in all likelihood, Viacom’s willingness to play well with streaming video. You see, Comedy Central owns the rights to the Reno 911!, and guess who owns Comedy Central? The same company we discussed in relation to the furthering of their YouTube lawsuit earlier this morning. Of course, if Netflix can demonstrate an ability to monetize the content it produces, and share it with the copyright holders, Comedy Central and Viacom will probably approve.
The question is, can Netflix be an effective medium for original content? It certainly has the distribution tools at its disposal, but will people want to see a show that Netflix is largely responsible for in the sense of its creation?
According to the NYMag.com, the House of Cards coup for Netflix inspired the Reno 911! producers to pursue Netflix as a viable medium for creating and distributing new episodes:
The Reno 911! talks actually predate Netflix’s efforts to land new episodes of the similarly cancelled Fox series Arrested Development. In June, Shamberg and Sher (Contagion, Pulp Fiction, World Trade Center, Erin Brockovich) e-mailed Netflix’s chief creative officer, Ted Sarandos, to compliment him on his recently made deal with David Fincher and Kevin Spacey to remake the BBC hit House of Cards for Netflix. And the producers were interested in doing something with his service, too.
Considering the success television shows have had on Netflix’s streaming service — over 60 percent of the consumed streams are television shows — resurrecting Reno 911! on such a platform is something worth pursuing, especially if the demand for the show still exists.
According to the show’s producers, production costs of their episodes was not very high, which is another “plus” in the Netflix column. That being said, perhaps it’s Netflix’s position as a successful content distributor is what makes it a player in situations like these. Reno 911! producer Michael Shamberg offers his take on Netflix’s position in all of this:
I don’t know that [Netflix] is reinventing the entertainment industry, but the old models are breaking down, and money’s tight, so everyone’s trying everything.” [Emphasis added]
All things considered, one has to wonder if these new episodes of Reno 911! would be available for DVD rental.