Netflix can relax: After the stock crash and widespread Schadenfreude, Streamers have recovered

Blue light flickered and I sped forward under the watchful gaze of a cartoon doll with giant pigtails. The doll’s strange voice said, “Red light.” I tried to stop, but the electronic bracelet vibrating on my wrist told me I had failed. If I were a character in a dark Netflix series squid game, I will be executed on the spot. If I were on a reality TV show recently Squid fishing game: Challenge, I will lose the opportunity to earn millions. Luckily, I was just a player in the live experience in Los Angeles called Squid Game: Challenge, where fans pay to reenact the show’s childish amusements like marbles and Red Light, Green Light. A big X just appeared over my photo on the chart and I walked through the gift shop.

If you’ve ever wondered how serious Netflix is ​​about winning the global streaming war, remember that it turned South Korea’s brutal critique of capitalism into a bombshell. Capitalism with many tentacles. It had the squid and ate it too. “Legacy media businesses are all pulling out because their linear businesses are shrinking faster than they expected and that is bringing Power back to Netflix.” “The new strategy for traditional media companies is to cut content, cut marketing, cut prices and pray for the best.” As for Netflix? At press time, the company’s highly regarded film chief, Scott Stuber, had announced his departure, but a positive earnings report sent the company’s stock soaring. “They created the sandbox,” said one top Hollywood agent. “Everyone has it and everyone uses it. Right now, they are the most powerful executive in television.”

Of course, Netflix’s road has had some deep potholes. In April 2022, the streamer announced it had lost 200,000 subscribers and expected to lose another 2 million in the next quarter. The company’s shares plummeted, costing the company $54 billion in market capitalization overnight and forcing hundreds of employees to be laid off. It was a major stumble that seemed to signal the end of the boom period for the entire streaming industry, as media and technology companies poured money into the wild to compete with Netflix for talent. and registrants. Last year’s screenwriter and actor strikes exacerbated the struggles of many entertainment companies, which are trying to make their streaming services competitive while having to dealing with dying television divisions and waning film divisions. Guessing which streamers will merge or be shut down is one of Hollywood’s favorite games today.

“We don’t have a legacy so this is all we do,” said Bela Bajaria, Netflix’s chief content officer. “We are focused on being a place that offers opportunities across multiple genres and multiple languages ​​for different types of storytelling.” When I asked her what’s next, she offered a mix of big swings and safe, risky and classic bets. Among them is a new comedy by Parks and recreationby Michael Schur based on the documentary mole agent, a new one Beverly Hills Police film, a short take on the 14th century text Decameron Executive produced by Orange is the new blackby Jenji Kohan and the Colombian series based on the legendary novel One hundred years of peace. Finally, the long-awaited sci-fi epic 3 Body problems from Alexander Woo and Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and DB Weiss, will premiere on March 21. “Netflix were the ones who brought it to us, so that made it easy,” Benioff said of the decision to step down. left HBO after Netflix Vice President Peter Friedlander suggested they adapt Liu Cixin’s trilogy. “On the flight home from Japan, we both finished reading the third book at the same time,” Benioff told me. “We both loved the potential of this project.”

For Benioff and Weiss, it was a relief to adapt a fully written book series after the show’s controversial final season. Throne. “The ending of the third book is extraordinary — it goes to the ends of the universe and time, and it comes together beautifully,” Benioff said. “We have a rough understanding of the structure of the entire series and we just hope that we can tell the whole thing and not get canceled.”

Greenfield, analyst, believes Netflix stumbled in 2022 because even co-founder Reed Hastings didn’t foresee how desperately media conglomerates would follow his company’s lead and compete for streaming dominance—even as it drives the entire industry to the brink. “Capital markets and investors have caused companies to lose absurd amounts of money,” he said. Until they didn’t.

Netflix’s stock collapse has caused much discontent in the industry. It doesn’t help that they’re notoriously secretive with many show creators — refusing to reveal ratings information that would be useful to them — and that they’re quick to drop shows. But then competitors like HBO Max and Disney+ went a step further and pulled entire series from circulation. Suddenly Netflix doesn’t look so bad. “Netflix’s reputation is growing only because everyone else is getting worse,” the representative said. “Creatively, no one thinks of themselves as doing highly artistic work, with a few exceptions around very high-end film directors and monster projects like 3 Body problems. But the whole business is facing many challenges so on the contrary, they look a lot stronger.” Netflix recently took small steps toward increasing transparency by making hours watched statistics on most of its shows public for the first time. The Writers Guild of America’s new contract requires streamers to report specific viewership data to determine bonuses for various writers, though the results may be kept secret.

What about the lavish incentives Netflix offers to attract talent? There’s a widespread feeling in the industry that streamers are less likely to spend as lavishly as they did during the height of the streaming wars. “They are definitely backing away from that,” said one industry trader. “They are no longer emotionally driven. Now, the way to order a show is to come up with something undeniable that can be produced for under $10 million an episode.” Bajaria rejects the notion that budgets play a significant role in her current decision-making. “There are different types of budgets and so that’s not really a consideration,” she said. “For me, it’s always really about what’s going to really connect with people.” She recalls the moment last year when the top three Netflix shows were dark agent, Beef, and Love Is Blind—a mainstream horror film, an idiosyncratic award-winning drama, and a reality drama. The juxtaposition was so impressive that she took a screenshot.

In fact, many of Netflix’s most iconic shows (think: Orange is the new black, Strange things, Squid game) is surprisingly odd. Bajaria’s predecessor, Cindy Holland, created a series of sharply scripted films that weaved themselves into the fabric of popular culture. After Bajaria arrived in 2016, she successfully built out the unscripted television division and ramped up global production, bringing in beloved reality shows like Strange eyes and foreign dramas such as Lupine entered the bloodstream of American consumers along with hit songs like Wednesday And Bridgerton. EQUAL Squid Game: Challenge hint, Netflix is ​​exploring even more ways to spin its shows into a Disney-style universe, whether through live events, an ever-expanding video game menu, or chain stores actually reported.

The streamer has set its sights on two other major arenas: live TV and sports. Instead of spending billions on game rights, Netflix sneaks in the side door with behind-the-scenes reality series like Beckham, Full rotation, And Formula 1: Drive to Survive. As co-CEO Ted Sarandos recently said at a press conference: “We have a very lucrative business of helping them grow the league and then letting us tell the story. And that’s something we can outpace people with.” The streamer also just signed a huge deal with WWE to bring its flagship live wrestling show to Netflix starting next year.

In the Red Light, Green Light version of the streaming wars, Netflix has decided speed and agility are the only way forward. Just wait for the green light or check out the gift shop.


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