Not content to change the way we watch movies and television, Netflix now is creating what we watch. Its accomplishments this year are pretty astonishing. It brought back cult classic sitcom Arrested Development. It garnered 14 Primetime Emmy nominations, including a best drama nod for House of Cards and best actor and actress noms for Kevin Spacey.
Arrested didn’t get a series nomination, but Jason Bateman was up for best actor in a comedy. The only trophy Netflix got was David Fincher’s best director honor for Cards, but it was still an impressive first showing. Early predictions are new Netflix prison comedy-drama Orange is The New Black may be in the mix at next year’s Emmys.
Online streaming also gives viewers a chance to catch up on missed episodes from traditional TV. Vince Gilligan, creator of acclaimed drama Breaking Bad said Netflix may have saved that show.
“I don’t think our show would have lasted beyond season two…” he said. “It’s a new era in television, and we’ve been very fortunate to receive the benefits.”
Binge watchers helped keep word of mouth going, and the rest is Emmy-winning TV history. Netflix encourages the practice, as it releases all the episodes of series at once. Netflix doesn’t give out any sort of ratings numbers, but it doesn’t look like they need to.
Putting their content readily available on streaming video may not work for everybody. Sanford Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger believes Turner Broadcasting’s deal putting some of Cartoon Network’s shows on Netflix hurt ratings. His study shows a 10 percent drop in ratings for Cartoon Network among homes with Netflix. Adult Swim viewership is down 18 percent in those homes, he said.
Netflix and Viacom, which owns Nickelodeon, parted ways in May taking popular kids offerings including Dora the Explorer and Spongebob Squarepants off the service. It sounds as if Cartoon Network has a reason to consider leaving too. Viacom did sign a new deal with Hulu.
Thanks to the growing quality of its original programming, Netflix doesn’t have to pay as much for content from elsewhere. Still, it is aware of the gap that losing Nickelodeon left in its kids offerings. A new deal with Dreamworks will provide more than 300 hours of animated programming, including Turbo F.A.S.T, based on its summer film about a racing snail. It debuts in December.