Netflix is Leveling Up
As a growing number of companies jump on the trend of proprietary streaming platforms and subscription-based services, many consumers are beginning to feel subscription fatigue, which is leading them to jump ship on services that they feel are too expensive or not providing sufficient value. That being said, it appears that Netflix, one of the OG’s of the streaming space, is feeling the effects.
With increasing competition from media giants like Apple, Amazon, Hulu, NBC, Paramount, HBO, Disney, etc. (all companies with experience creating critically and commercially viable content), it feels to me that Netflix is getting lost in the shuffle. But why?
My take is that in recent years, they’ve failed to demonstrate a strong capacity to create quality, enduring, and original content and have instead resorted to pumping ridiculous sums of money into uninspired, focus group-driven, mediocrity. The majority of their original films make old studio B-movies look like best picture candidates, and several of their original shows make network television look like an appealing alternative.
In my eyes, from a quality of original content perspective, Netflix is close to the bottom of the barrel these days. Maybe that’s what happens when you put more focus into the cameras that productions ARE and AREN'T allowed to use than you do the scripts.
If I had to attribute the decrease in quality to any one thing, it’d probably be the classic overreaction to competition. The competition increased, they didn’t manage shareholder expectations, and in turn scrambled to try and be something they weren’t rather than doubling down on what had been working for them.
Now let’s not get carried away. Things are never black and white and as of right now, Netflix is absolutely fine. They’ve demonstrated the capability to make great original content in the past. HOC, Master of None, Ozark, Bojack, Mindhunter, Stranger Things, OITNB, Queen's Gambit.. And they can definitely do it again, but in my opinion, they need to try and nail down an identity before they get further lost in the streaming shuffle and, worse yet, further stigmatize themselves in the eyes of talented creatives.
Sooooo, all that being said, Netflix is a publicly traded company and it appears that they're scrambling to find novel methods to increase revenue while not raising subscription prices on current customers. This "ad version" is a perfect prescription. While not novel in terms of model (NBC Peacock, Paramount, Hulu, Prime), from a PR perspective, they can spin it as "subscription prices are less" and from a revenue perspective, they open themselves up to a beautiful new stream of B2B advertising money. Hopefully, they can use that new stream of cash to make some quality films and series. If not, it’ll be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of years. "
- Alex Carter, Art Director
From a placement perspective, this opens doors for advertisers to reach additional consumers that they may not be capturing in the traditional TV landscape. We know Netflix is a streaming giant, and while it's off limits to local advertising, it offers another reputable platform for national brands to reach potential customers. If approached carefully and the number of units in content is limited, this move could allow Netflix additional funding to curate unique shows and movies exclusive to the platform that Alex noted.
- Shana Boyd, Account Director