Skip to main content

Netflix's success helps keep struggling TV shows on the air

Netflix's success helps keep struggling TV shows on the air

Share this story

Netflix was once a sore spot or afterthought for traditional TV providers, but as its position has solidified, it's also become a way for threatened shows to get enough funding to stay on the air. The Wall Street Journal reports that network executives have become more accepting of serialized dramas that would have been considered risky before Netflix's binge-watching system was established. Sometimes, that means taking a leap of faith on a new series, but Netflix can also resuscitate existing shows.

Perhaps the most prominent example is The Killing, which network AMC cancelled after two seasons. In early 2013, however, the show was renewed. The Killing producer Fox Television Studios had signed an exclusive deal with Netflix for the third season, giving it enough funding to offer a lower rate to AMC. WSJ reports that other shows, like PBS children's series Super Why, have also been helped by Netflix in exchange for exclusive streaming rights. "We're able to unlock economics for shows that otherwise would be very challenged," says Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

The result, however, is also that Netflix has been able to demand more expansive rights and dropped more quotidien programming like reality TV shows. Amazon Instant Video is scrapping with Netflix for the best content deals, but it so far doesn't appear to have shaped the TV landscape to nearly the same extent. And while Hollywood may see Netflix as an important partner, one executive implied to the WSJ that Netflix's success had made it cocky, saying it pursued an aggressive, selective strategy that missed the "element of give and take" in negotiations.