Following a second quarter that saw slower-than-expected subscriber growth, Netflix’s letter to shareholders touted the progress that the company has made in original content and its future plans. Perhaps most interesting is its intention to expand beyond TV shows to stand-up comedies and feature-length documentaries.
That’s not entirely new information — Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos had already stated his plans to expand into comedy in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. And it already streams John Hodgman’s comedy special Ragnarok exclusively. However, as far as I can tell, the company hadn’t previously mentioned its documentary plans.
“Netflix has become a big destination for fans of these much loved and often under-distributed genres,” the letter states. I’m guessing that Netflix can also produce this content at a relatively low cost.
As for its other content plans, the company also noted that it has renewed every single one of its first-season shows (Lilyhammer, House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, and Orange is the New Black) for a second season, and that it would “be delighted to produce a fifth season of Arrested Development, if possible, given fan reaction.”
It says all of its shows have “engaged large audiences across our markets,” though as before it didn’t didn’t release any specific viewer numbers. It did attribute part of the current quarter’s growth (600,000 new subscribers) to Arrested Development, which it said brought “a small but noticeable bump in membership” when it was released. That’s less likely to happen to entirely new shows because they’re less established.
Overall, Netflix says original programming accounts for 5 percent of its $3 billion in total amortized content costs.
Oh, and for those of you interested in the previously announced profiles feature, which is supposed to allow different people in a household to use a single account with less pain, Netflix says it still plans to roll it out this quarter.