Netflix Effect

“I watched Netflix.” That’s the answer most people respond with when asked what they did last night, last weekend, or during a holiday break.


Netflix has become a giant in the world of Internet streaming. As of July 2015, Netflix has more than 65.5 million subscribers. 42 million of these subscribers are from the United States while 23 million are international. The number of international subscribers is expected to grow as Netflix plans to launch its services in Spain, Italy, and Portugal this October.


Meanwhile, competitor Hulu is not even available yet outside the U.S. Another opponent, Amazon Prime, is already available in the UK and plans to launch in Japan this fall. Despite Amazon’s  plans to expand, it’s unlikely to have the international following of Netflix.


Netflix’s original and creative programming has not only increased its overseas success but also its Emmy nominations. In just two years, Netflix’s Emmy nods have more than doubled, from 14 in 2013 to 34 in 2015. With the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards being held on September 20, it will be interesting to see if Netflix can continue to crush their cable and streaming counterparts in trophies like they have been economically.


Even if they go home with no statuettes, Netflix can win in another way.  In addition to being a prestigious award show, the Emmys are also a big marketing opportunity for television. Emmy nominations translate into curiosity, leading people to watch shows they may have skipped before. This could send new customers to Netflix, possibly expanding the number of Emmy nods for next year.


The company’s strategy of making an entire season viewable at once also allows for the chance of Emmy nominations in the same year of release. For example, Netflix’s original series, Arrested Development, launched all 14 episodes in late May 2013, which made it to eligible to compete in that year’s race. If the series had premiered on a cable network that time of year, not enough episodes would have aired before the end of May cut off.


The battle between Netflix and cable is another war being waged. Cable television subscriptions have steadily dipped while Netflix’s have only increased. One factor in this decrease is the price of cable. The average cost of basic cable television is about 65 dollars a month, a 57 dollar difference compared to nine-dollars-a-month Netflix.


Another reason, perhaps most important, for cable’s decline is its inability to consistently produce innovative and exciting programming. Obviously, there are great shows on television, ones with immensely high ratings. After all, HBO’s Game of Thrones’ finale alone gathered 8.1 million viewers.


However, popular shows like Game of Thrones are not incredibly common on cable. Netflix, on the other hand, excels at creating massively well liked programs such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. These originals are critically acclaimed, Emmy nominated, and at the top of people’s binge watching lists.


Will Netflix’s economic success transfer into a big 2015 Emmy haul? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.