TCA: Netflix's Sarandos Reveals Over 600 Hours Programming

Posted: Jan 17 2016, 9:23pm CST | by , in News


TCA: Netflix's Sarandos Reveals over 600 hours programming
  • Over 600 hours of new programming.
  • Returning faves and new series coming.
  • How do ratings and awards factor in?

Ted Sarandos used Netflix's TCA time to open up about ratings, upcoming programs, and a few teasers about what not to expect. Original content is a major focus in 2016 for the streaming video giant.

Netflix looks to add 600 hours of new original programming to the streaming video service, including 11 new and returning series. A large bulk of the new series will focus on cross-generational appeal. With shows like "Fuller House," a return to 1980s beloved Tanner clan, and a possible "Gilmore Girls" reunion, there’s a lot of attention being paid to traditional television’s audience. Adding new series by producers like Matt Groening may entice nostalgia fueled viewers, too. "The Simpsons" longevity is nothing if not unexpected.

With cable cords being cut and companies like Comcast implementing data caps and rearranging services, the streaming audience showdown seems to inevitable.

According to USA Today, Netflix’s market prices have recently been unstable, especially since unlocking the global gates. At a cost of $6 billion in production, the numbers could make a few stockholders eyebrows raise in concern. But head of original content, Ted Sarandos reminds the Television Critic Association that the service is no longer dependent on libraries of other people’s work.

“We are running a global network, one that is not easily comparable, either in business or in cultural terms, to anything that’s come before,” quotes Variety. A network spanning 190 countries and territories is difficult to compare to typical cable television.

Earlier this week, NBCUniversal executive Alan Wurtzel told audiences that Symphony Advanced Media had reverse engineered a rating count since Netflix doesn’t measure in traditional methods. Fortune Magazine observed a sort of hand wave in order to avoid the fact Netflix’s model fits a more modern audience.

Sarandos also believes by not releasing the numbers, content creators no longer face the hurdle of beating the highest number for more recognition. An obstacle which has been “remarkably negative in terms of the quality of show” for broadcast television. 

“We may build a show for 30 million people and we may build a show for 2 million people. And we have shows that do that.” Instead of pushing goals for advertisers, productions are able to look at story arcs and value. And the method’s worked well for returning shows.

In an unsurprising move, "Jessica Jones" scored a second season renewal. Krysten Ritter’s portrayal of the Inhuman Jones propelled the series to critical acclaim and great popularity when released in late 2015. However, don’t look for anything new soon. Ars Technica points out that no shooting or premiere date was listed.

Will David Tennant return as the villainous Kilgrave? No one knows, but the show’s ripe for a variety of bad guys to show up. After all, there’s a whole collection of tested children out there. Surely, some must have followed Kilgrave’s path. Plus, "Luke Cage" needs to premiere in order to continue the storyline with Jones. There’s a lot of emotional baggage to work through, individually.

Shows like "House of Cards", "Narcos", and "Orange is the New Black" are a step apart from former content creations like "Hemlock Grove"; instead the streaming giant’s competing against premium cable networks Showtime and HBO. While the industry may not currently award the actors, Netflix attracts stars like Idris Elba and Kevin Spacey, in-demand actors that bring a lot of cache to the table. Docuseries "Making A Murderer" upped social media and news content since premiering last month.

But don’t look for live programming or sports casting just yet. It may take a bit for Baz Luhrmann’s "The Get Down" to hit the computer screen since it’ll be shown in two parts. In part because “Baz Luhrmann productions take a long time.” Adding, “We will always play with the release models to try to accelerate how quickly we can deliver them and sometimes how to reduce the window of time between seasons.” The first half of the season is set to premiere on August 16, 2016, and will show New York City’s rise of hip hop, punk, and disco.

Sarandos isn’t worried about movies, like "Beast of No Nation," being unable to generate the acclaim and numbers buzz, either. “People (were) watching that movie around the world in its first week of release at levels that independent film has never seen before.” Instead of releasing the movie through a major studio distribution deal with only small theater viewing, it was available throughout the world for – and thanks to - Netflix’s target audience.

Movies, documentaries, television shows, and children programming means a lower cost to more options for families. Take care of a toddler and the amount of original and licensed programming is a lot more affordable than paying for the upper tier cable prices—especially on top of high speed Internet bills. Adding 20 more shows for the age group is a precious time commodity with autoplay. If the company works at pushing out merchandise, the budget may pay for itself.

Should broadcast and premium networks be worried? Depends on the audience, really. For niche audience fans, companies like Netflix, offer more variety than the major leaders. However, the streaming giant would do well to pay attention to rivals like Amazon and broadcast’s upcoming services, like Comcast's Stream TV. Complacency will kill any momentum. The take away from the TCA session is the market’s rapidly changing as technology provides more options. All parties need to pay close attention to not overextend or underestimate audiences.

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