With 14 Emmy nominations in hand, few are doubting Netflix's ability to produce quality scripted content. But as its latest letter to shareholders reveals, Netflix has ambitions that extend far beyond House of Cards and Arrested Development. Specifically, the company plans to produce full-length documentaries and comedy shows for its streaming customers. "Beyond series, we will be expanding our Originals initiative to include broadly appealing feature documentaries and stand-up comedy specials," the letter reads. "Netflix has become a big destination for fans of these much loved and often under-distributed genres." Chief content officer Ted Sarandos hinted of Netflix's interest in comedy in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in May.
Stand-up specials are already an established hit on the service, with live performances from notable comedy stars like Louis CK, Rob Delaney, and others available for on-demand streaming. Those are pre-recorded specials that have more often than not debuted elsewhere (i.e. Comedy Central) however, and Netflix's letter suggests it wants to produce original content that would be exclusively available to subscribers. Venturing further into documentaries and comedy would bring Netflix into closer alignment with HBO; the premium network regularly produces both for its television audience.