If there’s a better way to find out what people want to watch than checking torrent sites, be sure to let Netflix know, because the popular TV and movie streaming service is doing exactly that in order to decide what to offer its users. In an interview with Tweakers coinciding with the recent launch of Netflix in the Netherlands, Netflix VP of Content Acquisition Kelly Merryman said that “[w]ith the purchase of series, we look at what it does well on piracy sites.” For example, Prison Break sees tons of illegal downloads and has now made its way on to Netflix Watch Instantly. More →
The television world was rocked this week by the news that the cult series Breaking Bad hit 5.9 million viewers with its season opener. This nearly doubled the 3 million level for the first episode of its previous season. Breaking Bad has always been a bit of a niche show: Its first season started with 1.4 million viewers and the second season grew only by a modest 300,000 viewers. So why on earth is the last season of the show suddenly a ratings bonanza? Variety has an interesting theory: Netflix has turned into a cable kingmaker, able to turn critically acclaimed shows with mediocre initial ratings into blockbusters. More →
If your favorite video streaming service is experiencing slow buffering, then your ISP is unsurprisingly partly to blame — and not just because it’s delivering a shoddy connection. Ars Technica reports that ISPs and video service providers often get into heated disputes over “how much one network should pay to connect to another,” which can result in ISPs intentionally slowing down traffic from YouTube and Netflix. More →
After Orange is the New Black surprisingly beat Arrested Development on first week audience count, Netflix is going even further out on a limb with its original programming. “Mako Mermaids” is a series about teen mermaids who change into human form and have adventures on land. It seems like a quirky concept that is likely to appeal to only a limited slice of the United States audience. But Netflix seems dedicated to sewing together a quilt out of wildly disparate patches of fabric. House of Cards was an insider look at the seamy underbelly of Washington politics. Arrested Development was a dense, complex Fox cult comedy that tapered off with fewer than 3 million viewers in its last season. Orange is the New Black was a downer dramedy about a seemingly normal woman who ends up in prison. More →
Shares of Netflix predictably tanked earlier this week when the company posted disappointing subscriber growth numbers, since many investors had been looking at the company as tech’s next big growth engine. Fortune contributor Kevin Kelleher, however, makes the case that investors should take the much longer view of Netflix’s potential to upend the television industry and not the ups and downs of meeting subscriber growth projections. More →
This afternoon, Netflix will report its spring quarter numbers and investors are on edge. Netflix’s share price has soared from $53 to $263 in one year, triggering muttering about a bubble. Over the past six months, the company has been able to generate massive media attention by its original shows House of Cards, Arrested Development and Orange is the New Black. Many analysts claim that these shows do not need to pull in new subscribers; if they manage to bring down churn and increase customer loyalty, they will justify the considerable production costs. More →
The questions about whether online content distributors can deliver compelling shows on par with what we see on broadcast and cable channels have been answered. Per Bloomberg, Netflix made history on Thursday as it became the first online-only network to garner top Emmy nominations. The company earned nine Emmy nominations for its hit drama House of Cards, including a nomination for best drama and acting nominations for series stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. Netflix also scooped up an Emmy nomination in the comedy category as Arrested Development star Jason Bateman got a nod for best actor in a comedy series. The Emmy nominations are the first in Netflix’s history and add new legitimacy to the company’s model for producing television shows and streaming entire seasons online all at once.
Netflix’s share price almost hit a giddy $26o on Friday as it became clear that Hulu was not going to be acquired by DirectTV or Time Warner. The company’s market cap is now nearing $15 billion, driven by what is widely regarded as a deeply irrational investor mania. But is Wall Street’s infatuation sheer lunacy? At the moment, Netflix is miles ahead of the other streaming video rivals when it comes to creating original content. Its latest show, “Orange is the New Black,” may be a quirky niche item, but it has topped 80% on Metacritic and is garnering some rave reviews from influential media mavens. Netflix is putting together a roster of ambitious high-profile shows that appeal to very distinct demographic niches. “Orange” is designed to basically grab the “Weeds” demo of 30 to 50-year-old professional women, “House of Cards’ ” audience’s average household income likely tops $100,000, and the upcoming Dreamworks animations are going to be catnip for families with kids under 8 years old. More →
Cue up “The Final Countdown” and start to celebrate: Netflix is looking to bring back Arrested Development for another season. Bloomberg reports that Netflix and Arrested Development production company Imagine Entertainment are currently negotiating to renew the cult TV show back for a fifth season. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said earlier this year that viewership for the revamped Arrested Development exceeded his expectations so it’s not surprising that the company wants to bring the show back for another round. Netflix has made waves in the entertainment industry by developing a new model for television distribution that makes entire seasons of shows available all at once so that users can stream them as quickly or slowly as they’d like. Netflix’s most popular orignal show, House of Cards, was a big hit for the company and quickly earned back Netflix’s $100 million investment in a matter of weeks.
Netflix has evolved from a basic TV and movie streaming service to a full-fledged media network. The company previously outbid HBO, Showtime and AMC for the Kevin Spacey-led drama House of Cards and was recently the exclusive home of Arrested Development’s highly anticipated fourth season. Along with its original content, a vast library of TV shows and movies, and the ability to resurrect cancelled shows, Netflix has even saved TV shows from getting the ax from traditional networks. More →
Give Microsoft credit: It’s willing to help companies ditch its own Silverlight video streaming platform for superior alternatives. The Next Web reports that Netflix is switching out Silverlight for HTML5 and it has Microsoft to thank for making it possible. Specifically, the report says that Netflix “has been working closely with the Internet Explorer team to implement its proposed ‘Premium Video Extensions’ in IE11 on Windows 8.1, meaning if you install the operating system preview released today, you can watch Netflix content using HTML5 right now.” Netflix is hoping that the switch to HTML5 away from the proprietary Silverlight will make it easier to stream content across many different browsers, including Firefox and Chrome.
Verizon seems to have found itself in a fresh net neutrality controversy. GigaOM reported earlier this week that bandwidth provider Cogent Communications accused Verizon of “allowing the peer connections” between the two companies “to degrade,” which results in slower wireline traffic for end users. Cogent CEO Dave Schaffer told GigaOM that Verizon says that it’s not adding more ports to its peer connections with Cogent because it’s moving traffic for an unspecified video provider that Schaffer believes to be Netflix. More →
Netflix on Monday announced a blockbuster deal that will bring no less than 300 hours of original content from DreamWorks to its streaming video service. That means Netflix will have the rights to premier new series with characters from franchises that might include Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and Casper the Friendly Ghost. A deal of this magnitude with a leading animation house could be extremely expensive and no details about actual programming have been divulged at this point. That’s why it’s fascinating that Netflix’s share price soared by as much as 8% on Monday. More →