Netflix may pick up Terra Nova

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Temis the Vorta, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Commodore Commodore

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    This is a long shot to be sure but I wonder if at some point they could release a new Star Trek series exclusively through Netflix.

    Sure there would be budget issues. But with fresh cast and crews it could start lower than recent series finished with.

    Also it's known that its fan base tends to be willing to purchase new content at every opportunity. Why wait for DVD sales when they can get money from the first time viewing. Instead of giving it away on a network broadcast.
     
  2. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    It is a wise move to study the idea. It's an opportunity that could demonstrate the feasibility of a new type of market.

    And while I agree that it would be foolish to make radical changes, I don't see that they necessarily have to make a clone of the first season either. Seems like their highest priority would be to identify their audience and give them what it wants, if the audience is big enough and devoted. The audience would be interested in a continuation of the show that was aired.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
  3. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

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    Trek as a subscription-based series

    Donald Draper see this older thread I started in Future of Trek:

    provider for new Trek series as original series download


    and for that matter this lively discussion also in that subforum that goes into USA & international licensing, syndication, audiences, and budgets:
    Would it really matter if the next Trek series were on linear TV?
     
  4. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's obvious that Netflix and broadcast TV are in two very different businesses. If Netflix doesn't know this, they're in bigger trouble than I thought.

    Terra Nova
    was created for the broadcast business, where content has been shaped by the need to corral huge, broad-based audiences for big-ticket advertisers like McDonald's and Ford. This business model has been undermined by competition from cable, etc, so the show's basic problem is that it's being made for a need that no longer exists, as even broadcast is forced to start chasing niche-ier audiences.

    And if that need doesn't exist on broadcast, it certainly doesn't exist anyplace that is funded by subscriptions rather than ads. Under the subscription model, you don't need mass audiences - there are no advertisers to please - so the name of the game is pleasing smaller niche audiences well enough to motivate them to pay for your service. That's the premium cable business model. Basic cable is a mix of the two and the shows on basic cable are, logically, also a mix of the two approaches.

    Since Netflix is subscription, not ad supported, they need to act less like FOX and more like HBO. If HBO or Showtime wouldn't bother with a show like Terra Nova - and of course they wouldn't, at least without changing it fundamentally to appeal to their own audiences - then it would make no sense for Netflix to do that either.

    If foreign audiences are enough to tempt Netflix, then why don't HBO and Showtime also pick up broadcast flops? (Answer: it would screw up their brand image, which is something Netflix needs to start concerning itself with, especially since their business is in flux, and therefore their brand image is up for grabs. HBO and Showtime understand that making a quick buck is not a smart idea at the cost of their brand image, which is the most valuable thing any business owns.)

    That's my interest here, too. The Terra Nova deal really doesn't make a lot of sense for Netflix from a strategic standpoint. At this point, they need to start creating their own brand of content, and picking up the pricey rejects of the dinosaur broadcast model (no pun intended) is not the way to do that.

    Sure, they might make some short-term money, but anyone who understands long-term strategic thinking and where the business as a whole is going will quickly understand that Terra Nova is an irrelevance. They have the right basic idea to be interested in a cultish sci fi show, but to try to retool one that has been massively rejected by American audiences is simply not worth their while.

    Shows like Terra Nova simply have no place on TV anymore, and certainly not in the emerging streaming video market. The fact that foreign audiences like it more than Americans just shows that foreign audiences are a few years behind where Americans are, in terms of TV viewing tastes, because their markets are not as mature. They'll get where we are sooner or later. Strategic marketing is all about shooting for where the market is going, not picking low-hanging fruit today.

    They produced Lilyhammer, and it's been a big honking flop. but that's more the type of show you'd see on HBO or Showtime, so at least they had the sort of right idea. House of Cards is also obviously in the same category since HBO and Showtime were bidding on it. Terra Nova is a weird outlier when compared with the other shows Netflix is developing or reviving.

    Arrested Development is the kind of cancelled show they're right to set their sights on. It was always too nichey and sophisticated for broadcast, which is why it failed there. Netflix also realizes that sci fi's inherent cult appeal fits their business model, but Terra Nova has already been fatally crippled by the attempt to pound it into the square hole of bland broadcast tastes. They'd have to invest more money in reshaping it into something to fit their own business model, and it's more cost effective to start over from scratch with something different.

    And frankly, I wouldn't worry too much about catering to the specific tastes of foreign audiences. They are less picky than Americans because their markets are less developed and they have less to be picky about. A revamped Terra Nova with less of the soapy teen angst crap and formulaic storytelling would work just as well overseas. But it's more bother for Netflix than it's worth.

    My mind keeps drifting in that direction, too. ;) Netflix should be talking to CBS about Star Trek. Now there's a brand name that has some cachet, thanks to JJ Abrams, and if they have money to burn, burn it on something good. Or, go the Game of Thrones route and pick up a sci fi or fantasy book series with a big dedicated fanbase. Or do both.

    And don't forget the opportunity cost in all this. Netflix has the resources to do X new shows. Whatever that number is, it's finite. Why waste time putting lipstick on a pig? Right now is a very crucial time for Netflix, as they are shaping their brand image going forward. Do they really want to be known as the purveyor of cosmetically enhanced porkers?
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    That's true as far as it goes, but complete similarity doesn't exist because their overhead has a different cost structure. According to this article, HBO splits new subscription fees about 50-50 with the distributors, while Showtime has a different arrangement with distributors. Netflix would have a third arrangement not involving contracts with cable or satellite providers, at least not the same sort of contracts. Since there is distinction in their business models at least at the margin, not everything unattractive to HBO need necessarily be unattractive to Netflix. My guess is they're running the numbers of various scenarios to see whether it's worth the risk.

    Also, the productions they've already committed to are different.
     
  6. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That doesn't change my essential point, which is that broadcast TV has been a certain way because of the needs to cater to advertisers who want big mass audiences. Premium cable is more about what specific audiences want, not about what advertisers want. Netflix needs to follow the premium cable approach, because they have no advertisers to please.

    I wouldn't want to see Netflix simply imitate HBO and Showtime. They need to forge their own identity, and not just a grab-bag of various premium cable-ish shows. Right now, they don't seem to be putting any thought into their brand identity.

    Whatever their brand identity needs to be, Terra Nova in its present incarnation is definitely not it. It represents a phase of TV that no longer even exists on broadcast, well, not unless Netflix is aiming for some kind of TVLand nostalgia approach. Someday that wouldn't be a bad idea as a sub-brand for them - new shows, made the old-fashioned way! - but they need a brand before they start worrying about sub-brands.

    They need to identify the ways in which Netflix customers (current and potential) are different from premium cable customers, find some chink in that armor and exploit it. I can't help but think that HBO/Showtime do have a snobby, unapproachable air about them, big business, not friendly...maybe there's a branding opportunity for Netflix there. And then create content that could be on premium cable, but isn't, because they're too damn full of themselves. Mad Men is exactly what Netflix shouldn't do. What they should do...well, I'm thinking Star Trek again...
     
  7. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, this makes sense. My point was simply, and to elaborate further, that Netflix doesn't depend on the same middle men that HBO and Showtime do, at least not in the same way, so there is a difference in what their best course of action is. They need to make that work to their advantage.
     
  8. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Commodore Commodore

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    Similar to Star Trek in this vein of distribution would be DC and Marvel properties. They are moving into online digital versions of their actual comics. It would be a natural extension of that with live action series or animation.

    What is the alternative the CW? How many affiliates does it even have at this point? Cartoon Network which has eradicate scheduling.
     
  9. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You forgot half of the cast being killed off, probably by a plague.
     
  10. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well there's an idea. Who says Netflix needs to just imitate any type of TV business, broadcast or cable? Why couldn't they start distributing online comics? Why not do both traditional (still image) comics and some hybrid between still images and animation? Maybe there's a new form of comics to be invented.

    Now that's the kind of creative thinking Netflix needs. Their business has been TV and movies to date. No reason it needs to stay that way. They could distribute ebooks. They could distribute forms of media that haven't even been invented.

    And I just read that airlockalpha link, ay yi yi!

    I really hope Netflix doesn't think for one millisecond that very many people who might watch Terra Nova because it's free and easily available from the comfort of their couches would pay good money to watch it, or even take the trouble to seek it out. It's not at all the kind of grabby-niche "gotta have it!" type show that can induce people to pay for content on the internet, which is notoriously hard.

    Netflix really needs to remember it has built its service to date by being a cheaper alternative to video stores. I'm sure I'm not the only person who bailed on Blockbuster with its $5-per-video rentals in favor of Netflix, where I've been averaging more like $1.50.

    That's a very different motive than someone who isn't a current Netflix subscriber, and says, omg! they have X! I have to see X! It's extraordinarily difficult to induce people to pay for content on the internet, where everyone is trained to get things for free. Netflix needs to be very careful about jumping from their rational, cheapskate-driven business into a business where the motive is driven by fan obsession.

    And once again, we're back to Star Trek as the answer. (Or a Game of Thrones-type novel series.) Netflix just needs to go find the type of content that does elicit a true fan-obsession reaction. Terra Nova ain't it, but there's a lot out there that could be.
    If they're willing to take a loss on a show just to build their brand, they should set their sights much higher than a drivelly broadcast reject!
     
  11. PsychoPere

    PsychoPere Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Netflix did not actually produce Lilyhammer; they merely have the U.S. and Canadian distribution rights. I'm also curious as to where you're seeing this "big honking flop" characterization come from, since the only information I can find relates to its big success on Norwegian TV (oh, and a Netflix exec noting that ratings won't work the same for Netflix as they would for a traditional tv network).
     
  12. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    That's what I was thinking. When Terra Nova is the most interesting item on the list, something's wrong. :rommie:
     
  13. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    So, if Netflix were to pick the show up, would it be exclusive to Netflix, or would it eventaully get a DVD release?
     
  14. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    Could be worse. They could be picking up Stargate Universe.

    Oh!
     
  15. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm sure it would find it's way to DVD eventually.
     
  16. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    That would definitely be worse. Although a new Stargate show may be good.
     
  17. lennier1

    lennier1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A sequel to the Stargate cartoon? :devil:
     
  18. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    I've never seen it, but I'm sort of leaning toward "no." :rommie:
     
  19. Base_Delta_Zero

    Base_Delta_Zero Commodore Commodore

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    This medium already exists. For the past 5 years or so that I've seen, there have been small motion comic spin-offs of movies and video games. The prequel series to Dead Space you can get on XBOX Live is pretty awesome, with a decent cast of voice actors and a well done, creepy hardcopy comic base for the visuals. I wish they had made another one for the sequel, but I guess the comics and XBOX Live game covered that.

    Someone should definitely go all out with a full series of such things, though. It has to be cheaper than a normal animation project. You can tell any crazy story you want in print and then digitize it without worrying about Bay-level production budgets breaking your piggy bank.

    As for Terra Nova, Netflix should just let it die and focus on coming up with some of their own original IPs.
     
  20. lennier1

    lennier1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Nothing that bad, just the cartoon world's answer to Ed Wood and Uwe Boll.