By: Lacey Worsham
Just a few days ago, Netflix’s third quarter earnings were reported. Not only did the company earn a record 2.15 billion in revenue, but they also added 3.6 million new subscribers. Netflix attributed this success to their new original content, Stranger Things, which is a success that makes perfect sense to anyone who has recently watched this show. Netflix’s original content is obviously a risk Netflix has taken, but also one that has paid off, as they have more business and creative control over the content. They certainly took a risk with Stranger Things because it required a large amount of cash upfront, but this show soared above and beyond general expectations created by past Netflix original content.
Stranger Things applies to all different types of viewers, as it contains aspects of science fiction, mystery, complex relationships, and even humor. It takes a distinct turn away from original content that we have seen from Netflix in the past, and this is why I believe the show has achieved such high success. Instead of dealing with political or cultural issues, this show acts as a venue for escapism that draws viewers into a fictional and mysterious world. This reminds me of the sitcoms we discussed that were also a part of this escapism trend, because when viewers are exhausted from the oppression of complex issues within society, we desire to slip away into a world we cannot (and don’t have to) explain.
As a result of Stranger Things, The Verge states that Netflix is planning to create 1,000 hours of original content in 2017, which is an amount that will double their programming from this year. This large amount of Netflix original content will have a major impact on regular television shows, as the more viewers Netflix gains, the less viewers television shows will have. It will be interesting to see how this new original content in 2017 will impact modern television.