When you log onto Netflix these days, you are immediately greeted with movie upon movie and television show upon television show adorned with a red watermark in the upper left-hand corner: “Netflix.” Scroll down a bit and you’ll see an expanded column of content, with key art nearly three times bigger than everything else: “Netflix Originals.” Nearly every genre you will come across in this subscription service will offer some of its own originally-produced series. This is caused by Netflix’s desire for more subscribers and a whole lot more money.
“[Netflix plans to] spend upwards of $8 billion on content in 2018 [and] will have in the neighborhood of 700 original TV shows on the service worldwide this year,” said CFO David Wells in an interview with Variety in February 2018.
The subscription service is churning out new content seemingly on the daily, and it can do this because it has the money to spend. After series like “Stranger Things” and “13 Reasons Why” absolutely blew up, gaining enormous viewer attention and traction on every social media outlet, it’s no surprise that Netflix would want to capitalize on this popularity and set itself up for being the most profitable.
One of the movie genres that Netflix seems to be capitalizing upon with its original content is the romantic comedy genre. Though many of its original productions seem to fall through the cracks, Netflix has not seemed to have any trouble grabbing subscriber attention with films such as “The Kissing Booth,” “Set it Up” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” Its young actors and actresses have been catapulted into stardom, gaining large social media followings with a lot of consumers demanding sequels.
An article written by Lea Palmieri for Decider entitled “Netflix Is Finally Realizing How Badly We Need Rom-Coms” discusses how many believe it is an extremely smart move by the subscription service to take advantage of this rom-com genre, especially since the genre has “quieted down” in recent years. Netflix realizes that the demand from viewers for these films, however, has not quieted down, and thus these viral titles are being released almost methodically.
This mass-production of original content has induced a widespread debate among consumers about whether it is generally a positive or negative decision for the company. Yes, Netflix has the money to spend on this content and is creating a lot of shows and films that are well-loved among subscribers. But in churning out this content, there is room for controversy and frustration. Is Netflix focusing too much on quantity and losing sight of quality? For every “Stranger Things” and “13 Reasons Why,” there are plenty more titles that fall to the background. Maybe Netflix has room for this expendability, considering it is currently one of the most successful and profitable companies in the world. Others may lose favor, however, in the service, feeling that this stunning growth in original content is taking over the other non-original shows and movies that they came for.
It is an interesting and unique business decision — one that will surely be analyzed and potentially replicated by other subscription service companies to become a trend in the industry. One thing is for sure, though: every time you log onto Netflix, there will be something for you to watch. You may love it or you may hate it, but Netflix’s original content library will only continue to expand.