back to article Netflix original TV shows gamble pays off... to the tune of 10m new viewers

Netflix's foray into original programming has paid off, with global subscriber numbers jumping past 40 million and profits quadrupling from the same period last year. Kate Mulgrew in Orange is the New Black Kate Mulgrew in Orange is the New Black. Credit: Netflix The online video streaming firm said its net profit was $32m …


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  1. nuclearstar

    Time to get the firefly licence from Fox and bring back all the cast for the most epic TV show return ever.

    1. Thecowking

      I would pay money to watch that.

      I mean I already have netflix, but if I didn't, this'd get me to get it:P

      1. Thorne

        I'd get netflicks for Firefly. The show was awesome and so was the movie

    2. mIRCat


      Wait, is that a thing? Can we do that?

      Mine's the one with the Captain Mal action figure in the pocket.

    3. Pat 4

      Can I upvote this more than once?

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    What an original idea

    Make a quality product and people will pay you for it.

    Perhaps this could be a basis for the Web4.0 business model

    1. NumptyScrub

      Re: What an original idea

      But the internet is full of pirates, so surely the only way Netflix could possibly monetise their original content is to sell it on physical disks with oppressive DRM (and stagger release to ensure a healthy demand in the target markets), right? If they put it up on the internet it'll just get pirated up the wazoo within seconds, like that free airing of Game of Thrones, right?

      I mean, there's no way doing something like that could possibly get them an increased subscriber base and turn a healthy profit, it's well documented by the major studios and industry associations.

      Give people what they want, when they want it, at a price they are willing to pay? Preposterous idea sir, truly preposterous!

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: What an original idea

        Another reason for making the product - they were able to show it around the world at the same time

        Rather than the industry standard - you can only watch this series in the USA, the rest of you have to wait 2years to find out who killed JR. Or just pirate it.

        1. pPPPP

          Re: What an original idea

          It was Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't it?

          I took a Netflix subscription to get the last Arrested Development season, and I kept it running. It's the overpriced Virgin subscription that's probably going to go. Really can't work out why I'm paying for countless crappy channels I never watch, just to get the few I do.

          1. John 172

            Re: What an original idea

            Got Netflix, cancelled Sky, got fibre broadband instead earlier this year. Some months we spend the huge savings on DVDs and Blurays of shows that aren't on Netflix, some months we don't and just pocket the difference.

          2. John 172

            Re: What an original idea

            Since switching to a combination of Netflix and iTunes we're certainly not missing the many hours of adverts or fast forwarding though adverts or being told a recording failed due to the puny small HDD in the sky box being full. Not having advert breaks in shows in one of the best parts of Netflix.

        2. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: What an original idea

          "Another reason for making the product - they were able to show it around the world at the same time"

          I've often wondered why more folks aren't doing this. Certainly the technology is more than mature enough for every producer and wannabe producer to tell the big studios to fuck off?

          1. Tom 13

            Re: I've often wondered why more folks aren't doing this.

            Part of it is that the networks figure if they broadcast it in primetime for LA, London pretty much won't be there. Which seems to me to be a reasonable assumption as I think those are prime sleeping hours in London.

            The bigger problem is that while the tech is there for the broadcasting, the business model for the production work isn't. If you put together a series like Eureka or Firefly the shooting and post production work are multimillion dollar projects, sometimes tens of multimillions. Somebody has to have deep enough pockets to front that money, and that's where most shows lose out. Netflix had the deep pockets to do it themselves and benefited accordingly. The other people who can do it are the no budget direct to streaming people like Geek and Sundry. OK, they have a tens of thousands of dollars budget which is large to the Geek and Sundry producers, but in mass media terms, that's a no budget show.

            And yes, it has been interesting listening to Felicia Day or Saul Rubinek talk about the ins and outs of production work at SF cons.

            1. Don Jefe

              Re: I've often wondered why more folks aren't doing this.

              It isn't simply that Netflix had the money to produce their own shows; plenty of producers have the required funds. Netflix had the cojones to take the risks and actually do it!

              Money and talent can be acquired: A leadership team willing to not only take risks, but to get buy-in from their Board is a much more difficult thing to do. The entire 'Hollywood' industry sufferes from a chronic deficiency of risk management. From the actual shows (see the many Spider-Man reboots and formulaic series design where they change the setting and faces but it's still all the same) to the business side of the industry (production, distribution, etc...) everyone wants a 'sure thing'. They simply don't have the balls to challenge the system.

              While the MPAA and 'legacy' business models cry themselves to sleep at night, Netflix is out partying it up and snorting cocaine off hookers as a reward for taking risks.

        3. Valerion

          Re: What an original idea

          >>Rather than the industry standard - you can only watch this series in the USA, the rest of you have to wait 2years to find out who killed JR. Or just pirate it.<<

          Except this is still somewhat the case. I really love Netflix, but I can't watch, for example, the Walking Dead on British Netflix. I have to jump through some hoops to watch it on the US Netflix instead.

          And don't even get me started on why there are a lot more Classic Dr Who on US than UK!

          1. Vociferous

            Re: What an original idea

            > I can't watch, for example, the Walking Dead on British Netflix

            Oh but you can, grasshopper, you can: install Mediahint in your browser, and enjoy Netflix vastly larger US' menu!

      2. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: What an original idea

        "Give people what they want, when they want it, at a price they are willing to pay? Preposterous idea sir, truly preposterous!"


  3. Adam T

    More efficient than the BBC then

    And costs less per month too

    Of course, we still have to pay Auntie to watch Netflix.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: More efficient than the BBC then

      No, you don't need a TV licence to watch Internet streamed video. Or to buy/rent DVDs, funnily enough...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: More efficient than the BBC then

        Unless that stream is live from sources like iPlayer

      2. g e

        Re: More efficient than the BBC then

        Use a tablet or laptop. Bin your TV.

        1. Don Jefe

          Re: More efficient than the BBC then

          Hell, buy an $80 Blu-Ray player with network connectivity and Netflix embedded and keep using your TV. That's what my folks do and it works perfectly fine.

  4. Florida1920

    The medium is the message

    I subscribed to Netflix a year ago but never have watched their self-produced shows. I wish their other streaming content had more recent films, which are available only on DVD. Hollywood is probably behind this though, not Netflix. I can't remember the last time I turned on my cable-connected TV. I can go to bed at 10 pm and watch my favorite late-night shows online the next day. There are messages here for content producers and providers. The smart ones will succeed, the others will go away, tapping their tablets and scratching their heads.

  5. Tom 35 Silver badge

    You can bet

    There is a "Big Content" Exec sitting by his pool saying, what! that profit should be mine, up their rent!

    1. g e

      Re: You can bet

      Which is exactly why making their own content and cutting those assclowns out of the loop altogether is an excellent way forward.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: You can bet

        "Which is exactly why making their own content and cutting those assclowns out of the loop altogether is an excellent way forward.


  6. btrower

    We are considering cancelling cable

    NetFlix has become the most watched thing in our household -- ahead of cable TV and DVDs. TV over the airwaves went the way of the Dodo years ago now.

    Even with content restricted due to errant government protections here in Canada, NetFlix is the best alternative. Once it manages to break through with more programming, it will be the only thing we watch other than things directly on the Internet.

    Entrenched providers have fought tooth and claw to rig the system against reasonable streaming content. Despite that, it marches on.

    The fourth estate and its old media has entirely broken faith with us. They do not deserve a second chance. They can't die soon enough for me.

    NetFlix is sitting on a gold mine right now. I am sure that most people who get a few meager things they actually want to watch for $30 a month from Cable would switch to NetFlix in a heartbeat if they could offer the same things.

    NetFlix has prospered and grown even without a level playing field. The field will level itself. For consumers this is great.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: We are considering cancelling cable

      Of course now that Netflix makes TV, rather than just shipping bytes, it will be subject to all those same regulations.

      Unless of course they just decide to take the piss and make 1000hours of a picture of a Canadian flag (with French subtitles) and allow people to stream it if they want.

      1. Santonia

        Re: We are considering cancelling cable

        I'm no broadcast guidelines and rules expert, but having watched Orange Is The New Black and been 'exposed' to more than you normally see on TV (particularly US) programming, including particularly frank language, I think it's pretty obvious that normal broadcast rules do not apply. Think about it, Netflix does not broadcast, they don't distribute films, or TV using the existing networks and are therefore, presumably, not subject to those rules. There are no broadcast licenses, age certifications and so on - its a subscriber club on the Internet.

        All the better for it, quality programmes without the usual TV tropes that constantly remind you that you were watching TV rather than a dramatic representation of real life.

        1. Chris 127

          Re: We are considering cancelling cable

          I don't think it is particularly about broadcast rules, as far as I know HBO get away with the same thing. The reason that they can get away with more is the subscription model; they are not trying to keep advertisers happy.

          This is from the HBO wiki page:

          "HBO does not carry "normal" commercials; instead the network runs promotions for upcoming HBO programs and behind-the-scenes featurettes between programs. This relieves HBO from some pressures to tone down controversial aspects of its programs, and allows for explicit content to air, such as graphic violence, sexual situations and profanity."

          1. Tom 13

            Re: We are considering cancelling cable

            In the US it is the broadcast over the airwaves bit that enables the government to have the FCC regulate broadcast TV.

            There may be additional pressures from advertisers, but that blurb is pure fluff.

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: We are considering cancelling cable

          You are thinking logically - not like a politician who has been careful briefed over a golf game by cable industry CEO.

          In Canada the broadcasters are required to broadcast a certain amount of Canadian Content ( CANCON).

          The regulators want to apply this to YouTube (!) and Netflix after complaints from cable companies.

          Quite how they can force YouTube to show a certain proportion of Canadian Content to Canadians isn't clear - perhaps you will be forced to watch "Just for Laughs" before every cat video.

          Netflix countered that they could make as much CANCON available as they wanted, but it was upto the viewer to decide if they wanted to watch it or not. The suggestion was that they would just have a blank white screen with the claim that it was a Canadian polar bear in the arctic with it's eyes closed.

    2. g e

      Re: We are considering cancelling cable

      Hear hear

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: We are considering cancelling cable

      The ONLY reason I have cable is for the Internet.

      Where I live, the cable companies are the only options for anything other than dial-up.

      And it's only 2 options at that. A lesser of bollweevils.

    4. Putonghua73

      Re: We are considering cancelling cable

      I've been mulling over the same sentiments - albeit, I'm a Brit in London. Had a free month trial for Sky movies which was not renewed as we (myself and my girlfriend) were mainly watching films available via Film 4 (non-Sky content).

      We did watch Game of Thrones on Sky Atlantic and Da Vinci's Demons on Fox. With the exception of Family Guy and American Dad, I cannot think of anything else we regularly watch to justify the continued subscription to Sky TV.

      I'm sure that even with back-of-an-envelope maths, there would be savings (and more viewing choice) for plumping with Netflix and a Freeview box (one that allows recording) in the first year than persisting with a Sky TV subscription.

      Time to look at the options ..

  7. Captain DaFt

    Used the Force?

    It looks like Netflix has pulled an Obi-Wan on Darth Media:

    "Restrict your content, and I will become more powerful than you can imagine."

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But, but, the freetards!

    Content is expensive, how ever will artists get their paychecks with all the freetards "stealing" stuff from the internet.

    Runner up - is there an ultraviolet version of this?

    3rd place - if a show is never on live tv, never on dvd, never in physical form, does anyone watch it?

  9. MrAverage

    More Power to Netflix!

    I for one welcome our new, self-content making, internet stream overlords.

    Now bring the service to Australia please...

  10. Sheep!

    Netflix vs Lovefilm

    I have Netflix and Lovefilm (I took a 6 months for a tenner on Lovefilm because they allowed me to rent 3 games at a time form my shiny new PS3 with the subscription, a service they've now stopped!). Netflix is cheaper, has a better variety of content, but more importantly I've never had a single problem streaming Netflix. Lovefilm, on the other hand, I've never successfully streamed without it breaking up or stopping completely (except on my Kindle Fire, which is telling given that it's an Amazon product) and neither has anyone I know who's got a Lovefilm subscription. But the weird thing is, Lovefilm is an Amazon product, but Netflix is streamed from AWS, so the question is, if Netflix can stream properly from Amazon, why the hell can't Amazon stream it's own product properly??? I know Amazon try not to make a profit, but this is a guaranteed way to ensure they don't! But in all seriousness, if Netflix can stream perfectly off of AWS, why can't Lovefilm?

    1. Neil B

      Re: Netflix vs Lovefilm

      Weellll, we stream LoveFilm in HD all the time without any problems, so that balances that. :)

    2. Nelbert Noggins

      Re: Netflix vs Lovefilm

      Amazon bought Lovefilm, not created it. I've no idea where Lovefilm were hosting, but each country they operated in was separate logins, and probably separate server hosting.

      It's only recently Amazon have been merging the signon process to use Amazon accounts and I'm sure they can sort out moving it all into AWS, although migrating LoveFilm into the rest-of-world Amazon Prime Video is probably more likely long term.

      I occasionally had problems with Lovefilm streaming, but it was either issues with my ISP or the client in the device I was using. iPlayer was the one that would always pause, drop and refuse to play HD for me. Since ditching my 4Mb ADSL and using Mobile Internet USB tethered to my router I've had faultless streaming of SD and HD content, unless my mobile loses it's connection.

      In terms of client devices I use I found best to worst is

      Xbox 360


      Humax FreeSat Box

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Netflix stretching the definition of original there...

    given that House of Cards is a remake

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Netflix stretching the definition of original there...

      All the cinema films of the last ten years have been remakes of successful 60's - 80's films that bombed when remade, the BBC thrive on reshowing the same trash we've paid for several times over without much new interesting for 1% of the idiotic viewers (I've yet to see an eastender in Eastenders)

      bring on the streaming content

  12. Andrew Moore

    Me and the missus really enjoy Vagina is the New Penis (aka Prisoner: Cell Block USA).

    Hemlock Grove was shite though.

  13. BitDr

    Cable company and teleco owns infrastructure, teleco also owns content creation, these guys are pushing for different pricing for data delivery based on the KIND of data (as if the ones and zeros were somehow different). If they succeed then they are essentially in a position to strangle competition as they own the pipes.

    1. I think so I am?

      Never happen

      Data is cheap ! especially when the UK public are fund 90% of the fiber expansion in the UK.

      Oh, wait we already did pay for it, silly me

    2. Tom 13

      Re: pricing for data delivery based on the KIND of data

      The KIND of data do matter. I don't do much torrenting but when I do, +/- 10 minutes doesn't mean all that much to me. If you're talking about my VoIP phone +/- 10 seconds is unacceptable. Yet both are transmitted on the same wire. So there is some need for the infrastructure owner to be able to differentiate traffic and treat it differently. But it shouldn't be the disruptive sort of resetting peers because its a torrent and the infrastructure owner assumes just because it is a torrent it is piracy. My torrents are all either Linux ISOs (when I get the urge to try to play with it) or covered under parody fair use exceptions to US copyright law with a fair chunk of original work from the folks who've posted the torrent. And actually, I think even that one I haven't touched in over a year because the project went quiet.

  14. Jeffstu

    but but.... captain janeway

    I shall never look at captain Janeway the same way again after this.

    That aside I stopped paying for virgin tv and my tv licence after realising i'd not watched standard tv for 6 months.

    I just choose something to watch from netflix.

    I told the tv licence people i'd not watched tv for 6 months and got a full refund for the licence.

    Still waiting for that one to come back and bite me.

    but I don't see the need to pay for that when you get the Iplayer and 4od etc and can pay for netflix.

    I clarified your ok to watch iplayer and 4od providing it's pre-recorded and not live streaming.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: but but.... captain janeway

      Yes, Captain Janeway obviously needed the structure provided by The Federation. Without it she let herself go physically and abandoned the principals that kept her away from the criminal elements of society.

      *On the other hand, perhaps this is her punishment for illegally disrupting temporal continuity to get Voyager back to the Delta Quadrant. She's been sent back to a 21st century penal facility where she can learn the true value of the principals The Federation supports :)

  15. Jerky Jerk face

    Who would cancel arrested development?

    Good job netflix picked it up! Would be sad to see that go the way of alphas, firefly and even an early south park!

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