Netflix is not just creating popular original content for streaming, it is beginning to have a significant impact on cable television programming. Netflix’s investments are providing new life for shows after cancellation, and securing exclusive rights to stream them. Its efforts may also be improving programming, not just to keep subscribers, but to support shows that will eventually be streamed by providing a source of revenue to the network.
Netflix funded the continuation of “The Killing,” the cancelled crime drama on AMC, reports The Wall Street Journal. In exchange for saving the show, Netflix received exclusive streaming rights three months after the season finale.
With online video on demand, viewers are looking for higher quality or scripted programming. Netflix has dropped many reality TV shows such as “Pawn Stars” and “Ice Road Truckers,” since no one appeared to be watching.
Scripted TV programming is the greater target for Netflix, even if it produces these shows themselves. “Hemlock Grove” and “House of Cards” are two recent Netflix produced shows, and may reflect what is to come.
“Just buying up streaming rights to existent series wasn’t enough to continue growth,” explains The Atlantic Wire. “Rather, it needed to invest in its own shows — ones [that] would hook subscribers so much that they keep paying for the service.”
Furthermore, payments by Netflix for streaming rights is a growing source of revenue for content owners and producers. Netflix paid $1 million for each episode of “Mad Men,” supporting the show.
The investment from streaming companies like Netflix is beginning to change the direction of programming. Networks consider what will work once on Netflix, suggests Gary Newman, chairman of Twentieth Century Fox Television. Newman also says that due to Netflix, the network now encourages programs with storylines that span more than one episode.
Netflix’s initial involvement with television programming was with serialized drama. But with the recent return of “Arrested Development” and the success of “Orange Is the New Black,” comedy may be changing as well.