The Netflix Effect: How Streaming Platforms Are Shaping the Future of TV

In the ever-evolving world of streaming, it’s fascinating to witness how the dynamics of content distribution are constantly changing. Streaming ratings charts often hint at the subtle, yet powerful shifts in the industry, with shows finding new life and audiences across various platforms. One such example is the resurgence of NBCUniversal’s “Suits” on Netflix, proving that the streaming giant remains a formidable force in the world of entertainment.

A Journey Back to “Suits”

Remember “Suits”? The legal drama series captivated audiences during its original run. Well, it turns out that this NBCUniversal show is finding a second life on Netflix, as the streaming service reestablishes itself as a go-to destination for TV shows and movies from every major entertainment company.

The story of “Suits” on Netflix is a testament to the “Netflix effect.” Following the show’s initial run, it had been available on various platforms. However, Netflix’s wide distribution footprint and sophisticated recommendation system enabled it to breathe new life into “Suits.” The show that had played on cable and other streaming services was suddenly thrust into the heart of popular culture worldwide.

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos stated, “Because of our distribution footprint and our recommendation system, we were able to take ‘Suits’ and pop it right into the center of the culture in a huge way, not just in the U.S. but all over the world.”

The power of Netflix’s 77 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada significantly influences the viewing time for shows available on multiple platforms. The streaming giant’s broad reach ensures that many of these multiple-streamer shows benefit from its extensive audience.

However, it’s essential to note that while “Suits” found a new home on Netflix, not every show enjoys the same fate. “The Office,” for example, hasn’t cracked a top 10 list since it became exclusive to Peacock in 2021. The impact of Netflix on a show’s revival largely depends on the combination of content, audience, and timing.

The Streaming Nuclear Arms Trade

The landscape of the streaming industry has undergone dramatic changes since the early days when every entertainment company decided to hoard its content. Major players like NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Paramount followed Disney’s lead in pulling most of their content from Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to build up their own streaming services.

Bob Iger, former Disney CEO, once likened the practice of licensing content to Netflix as “selling nuclear weapons technology to a Third World country.” However, the tides have turned, and it seems even Disney is reconsidering its strategy. During Disney’s annual shareholder meeting in 2022, Iger mentioned that they might consider licensing certain content to third parties.

This shift in strategy is gaining momentum, with Warner Bros. Discovery, NBCUniversal, and Paramount Global adopting a similar approach. They aim to keep core franchises exclusive to their own streaming platforms whenever possible while showing more flexibility with older content or less valuable intellectual property.

Warner Bros. Discovery has been particularly active in licensing its programming to alleviate merger-related debt. Iconic titles like “Westworld” and “The Nevers” found new homes on ad-supported streaming services like Tubi and Roku.

Furthermore, some previously off-limits HBO titles, such as “Ballers” and World War II miniseries “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific,” have gained popularity after debuting on Netflix. Interestingly, they hadn’t achieved the same level of recognition while streaming exclusively on Max.

The Ever-Changing Streaming Landscape

The streaming landscape is continually evolving, with major players like Netflix reshaping the industry’s dynamics. “Suits” finding success on Netflix is just one example of how streaming platforms have become the primary destination for viewers in search of diverse content from various studios.

As the streaming war continues, it’s clear that the “Netflix effect” remains a powerful force in the world of entertainment.

The ability to bring new life to old shows and introduce them to a global audience demonstrates the far-reaching impact of streaming platforms in shaping the future of TV. In an era of ever-increasing content options, it’s the audience that ultimately benefits from the diverse range of shows available at their fingertips.

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