Netflix has enjoyed wide-reaching success with its original programming, including dramas, family sitcoms, and both supernatural and horror options gaining millions of viewers nationwide. Now the stream-on-demand baron may be looking to branch further into unscripted comedy, similar to the popular “Stephen Colbert” show or “Saturday Night Live.” This will be even tougher for television networks to manage given some of their own recent losses in this area.
The primary on-demand video streaming services have all discovered they must produce their own original content to remain competitive. In fact, Netflix’s original content has continued to boost its viewership. Its three most popular original series – “Orange is the New Black,” “Stranger Things,” and “Fuller House” – garnered no less than 20 million viewers each. While some argue that its original programming is no better, only cheaper, others content that the ability to break away from cable and advertising companies has allowed Netflix to give talented writers a free hand in producing quality content.
An analyst from Instinet, Anthony DiClemente, met with multiple programming executives recently, and reported that on-demand programmers like Netflix are “ramping investments in unscripted genres.” Ultimately, this could be problematic for networks like Comedy Central, who rely heavily on viewership for this type of content. Their audiences are vulnerable to poaching with the recent losses of both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and the network is already struggling to keep its numbers up. Netflix’s push into this area has the potential to seriously disrupt some of the bigger comedy barons, with great results for viewers.