Netflix Banking on New Series To Build Original Brand

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After scoring a hit with the political drama House of Cards earlier this year, Netflix is set to release its second original series on Friday. This one, Hemlock Grove, is a 13-episode, small-town werewolf soap opera starring Famke Janssen and Bill Skarsgard.

The hope for Netflix is that it can give viewers something new to “binge watch,” a trend in recent years as consumers rent or DVR whole seasons of shows in order to catch up with their friends or the overall cultural conversation. “Our goal is to shut down a portion of America for a whole day,” House of Cards producer Beau Willimon told the New York Times when the series debuted in February.

Next month, Netflix will release 15 new episodes of the comedy Arrested Development, which originally aired on network TV, but the streaming site aquired the rights last year. The highly-anticipated relaunch of the series will likely drive new users to Netflix, if only for the duration of the series. With enough fan power backing Arrested Development, the brand’s marketing power is currently focused on Hemlock Grove. As the Los Angeles Times points out, that push is needed because it can’t promote itself as usual television series do: with lead-ins from popular shows and in-network promotion.[more]

“It’s a little ironic,” actor Famke Janssen told the L.A. Times. “This is a show with a very old-world feel, yet it could help create the future of television.” And perhaps the future of Netflix, as well. The second original series for the streaming startup will help determine whether its model has some staying power independent from the networks and production companies that it gets most of its content from. 

While critics haven’t been kind to the new show, Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, doesn’t sound concerned: “This show’s not made for critics—it’s made for viewers,” he said.

Now the viewers just need to show up.

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