In 2011, Netflix outcompeted HBO for the copyright to David Fincher’s thriller House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey.
For the inexperienced streamer, it was a risky decision. Even though Netflix had been there since 1997, first as a DVD shipping service and then as a destination for everyone’s favorite streaming repeats by 2011, the company’s entry into original programming had been limited. Rivals Hulu and Amazon Prime, the other streaming services like Sockshare, were still finding their feet and had yet to produce original content. There is one issue that people in many regions face with Netflix is the differentiation among the catalogue.
With the arrival of Cards, the landscape shifted. The 26 episodes, reportedly purchased for $100 million, indicated a significant investment in Netflix’s new direction. Several inquiries: Could the firm produce a show that was as creatively successful as HBO’s previous efforts? Was the investment a financial success—or a financial disaster? Was it really necessary for a streamer to create unique material to attract subscribers?
Cards were, of course, not just a big hit but also a game-changer. The early investment in original programming paid off handsomely over the rest of the decade, dramatically disrupting the old television business in various ways.
As the year comes to a close and a new one begins, it’s worth considering how streaming changed television with its shift to original content—and how that will play out in the years ahead.
This revolution influences the following five sectors.
Rise of Streaming
House of Cards’ whole first season was released in a single day. Orange Is the New Black, Netflix’s next major original, followed the same formula.
While binge-watching, or watching numerous episodes of a single show in a given session, had already been done previously, it became connected to the development of streaming originals, with most of them premiering an entire season at once rather than following the standard network approach of premiering episodes every week. (Of course, there are exceptions—for the most part, Hulu has kept to a weekly schedule.)
The benefit of switching to this strategy was that it kept people involved. Why risk letting people drift away after an hour when attention spans are at an all-time low? Binging appealed to Millennials and Gen Z, who like to consume material on their own time.
Viewers’ hunger for binge-watching prompted cable and broadcast networks to respond. They experimented with format, such as dumping full seasons of programs in a single weekend. From Hollywood to Bollywood, everything can be easily found on streaming channels.
As networks seek innovative methods to engage viewers, expect to see more of this in the coming decade. Except for living content, they’re becoming less and less beholden to regular TV schedules. More networks may experiment with airing a single TV show for a whole night rather than once a week.
Broadcasting has always been about producing broad-based material that appeals to a broader audience. It’s how long-running sitcoms like Friends, The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, and, of course, I Love Lucy have thrived.
However, when consumers switch from console to TV to mobile device, their watching habits become more fragmented, resulting in a split audience. As a result, an engaged audience, one who would watch your show no matter what and tweet about it, has become a prized commodity, one that is tough to obtain in the face of so much competition.
So, how do you appeal to specific demographics? Give them something they won’t be able to refuse. The streamers have excelled at this. Do you enjoy true crime? Making a Murderer is available on Netflix. Do you want your superhero shows to have more teen angst? Marvel’s Runaways is available on Hulu. Want The X-Files but with a real-life setting? Lore by Amazon is a good example of this.
It’s tough for broadcast and cable to compete with Netflix’s vast coffers. The streamer has spent billions generating new material, while other streamers have increased their budgets while not committing as much.
The broadcast will find it more difficult to compete on a scale of raw numbers. Only roughly a third of broadcast series make it to their second season, and with viewership decreasing so dramatically over the last decade, the bar for survival has lowered. On the other hand, Networks can’t afford to adopt the same tactic as streamers since their schedules are constrained. The approach of “see what sticks to the wall” will not work.
IN RECENT YEARS, Apple TV+, Disney+, and HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s streaming initiative, have all debuted.
These debuts signal many factors, including conventional media firms’ ambition to compete with Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu and reclaim control of their profitable library material. HBO Max, for example, debuted with Friends, which was a staple of Netflix’s programming.
The success of Disney+’s The Mandalorian, situated in the Star Wars universe, is a great illustration of how these new streamers can use their existing franchises to entice customers. It’s a whole new television paradigm, and the next five years will reveal if their bets pay off.
Other media giants are expected to join Disney, Apple, and WarnerMedia in the streaming battles, but their long-term viability is uncertain. Many individuals have increased their entertainment expenses, but the market can only sustain so many streamers.
TV advertising had been the 800-pound monster in the media for what seemed like an eternity a decade ago. As we approach 2020, we have seen record spending losses in the medium, which we can attribute to the advent of streaming content.
Television investment will continue to be driven by events such as the Olympics and elections. It’s not like it’s about to fall over a cliff. However, because marketers follow the audience’s attention, streaming has certainly influenced where they spend their money.
The amount of money spent on television commercials will decrease. It’s anyone’s guess how low they’ll go. Whether it is Amazon or Netflix, they adjust their advertising practices to make up for some of the slack—they presently don’t have advertisements, while Hulu’s basic platform does.
It is time to conclude the story. It has been proven that Television culture has immensely decreased after Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon, and Disney on-demand streaming channels. On these channels, streamers can find everything from TV shows to movies.