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Netflix eyes original documentary

After the success of original scripted programs such as House of Cards (pictured), video-on-demand platform Netflix is moving into commissioning original non-fiction titles.
July 23, 2013

After the success of original scripted programs such as House of Cards (pictured), video-on-demand platform Netflix is moving into commissioning original non-fiction titles.

In a letter to Netflix investors, the company’s CEO, Reed Hastings, and CFO David Wells revealed that the Internet television platform would be investing in original documentaries.

The second quarter letter to investors stated that Netflix has almost 30 million domestic members and eight million international subscribers, while the Q2 streaming revenue was up by 26% domestically and 155% internationally over the previous year. Netflix original productions have recently nabbed 14 Emmy award nominations, with drama House of Cards marking the first time an VoD TV show has been nominated for one of the top awards.

On the heels of that success, the letter stated: “Beyond series, we will be expanding our Originals initiative to include broadly appealing feature documentaries and stand-up comedy specials. Netflix has become a big destination for fans of these much loved and often under-distributed genres.”

Netflix will also build upon the success of its first five original series – Lilyhammer, House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, Orange is the New Black and the fourth season of Arrested Development – by ordering second seasons.

As Hastings and Wells say in the letter, the five series “have engaged large audiences across our markets and are very different, allowing us to broaden our overall reach with each new Original.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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