The strategy of launching wave upon wave of new, original content has worked like a charm for Netflix. As the second season of Orange is the New Black has received an avalanche of media coverage, Netflix’s share price has zoomed up by 20% over the past month. The company is now prepping launches in France and Germany after it clobbered HBO in Sweden by a roughly 10-to-1 ratio in new subscriber additions. And now Netflix is preparing to unleash a new wave of content that includes some of its most surprising shows yet.
Somewhat oddly, Netflix has decided to do a mini-season of The Killing, an AMC procedural that got off to a strong start but then triggered a brutal backlash with an unsatisfying first season finale and a mess of a second season. Apparently Netflix believes it can rescue a property that was a massive critical and audience favorite in Scandinavia thanks to its grimly naturalistic original format.
In a straight up shocker, Netflix has also decided to bring a Chelsea Handler talk show to its streaming service in what is a potentially groundbreaking move. No notable talk shows have ever been attempted in the streaming business. Chelsea was a hot property half a decade ago when she notched up a major national bestseller and jolted late night audiences with obscene commentary about celebrities. However, seven years have taken some of the sheen off of Chelsea’s shtick — can Netflix freshen it up?
Bringing back Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin to anchor a new series is also a bold move by Netflix. These were hot comic actresses 35 years ago, but their audience appeal hasn’t been seriously tested in recent years.
What’s interesting is that while Netflix announced exciting, cutting edge new series focusing on science fiction and drug industry themes a few months ago, this time around the theme seems to be an attempt to salvage damaged goods — The Killing, Handler, Fonda and Tomlin all were sizzling-hot at one time, but look decidedly shopworn at the moment. Time will tell if Netflix finds a formula to revamp outdated properties.