Netflix plans original documentaries (as well as more Arrested Development)
James R | On 24, Jul 2013
Netflix is planning to produce original documentaries and stand-up comedy specials alongside its existing original content.
The streaming video giant has seen huge success with its original programming so far. House of Cards picked up a landmark string of Emmy nominations last week – the first time any online TV show has been given the nod.
Arrested Development, meanwhile gave the company an additional 630,000 subscribers in the US. Netflix actually expected a bigger bounce, predicting to end the second quarter of 2013 with 29.4 million to 30.05 million US subscribers. The end of June total of 29.81 million (up from 29.17m in Q1) was a disappointment to shareholders, but a solid boost for the provider. Indeed, the group’s execs have said they would be “delighted to produce a fifth season of “Arrested Development” are already in talks with the actors for a follow-up.
“Arrested Development already had a strong brand and fan base, generating a small but noticeable bump in membership when we released it,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells said in a letter this week. “Other great shows don’t have that noticeable effect in their first season because they are less established.”
With awards success and subscribers on the up, Netflix is pushing ahead even further with its original programming; it has already ordered a second season of Hemlock Grove, House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black. The latter was commissioned before the first season had even premiered – that’s how confident they are.
Now, that confidence is taking them into the non-fiction arena. “Broadly appealing feature documentaries” and stand-up comedy specials are on their hit list, reports Variety. Indeed, roughly 5 per cent of Netflix’s content funds is currently allocated to original content. That’s expected to climb to 10 or even 15 per cent in the coming years, as the company makes a huge shift from provider to programmer.
“Netflix has become a big destination for fans of these much loved and often under-distributed genres,” the two head honchos said.
By out count, Netflix UK has 335 documentaries, including everything from Being Elmo and Baraka to Man on Wire (pictured above) and loads of episodes of TED Talks – a great sign for a genre that, shockingly, has zero films in the IMDb Top 250.
More of those with the same production values as House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black? Yes please.