Netflix finds continued success in originals



Opinion columnist Sam King takes a look at the recent upsurge in Netflix original series, such as the popular show "Stranger Things."

SAM KING, Opinion Columnist

Like most college students, I am an avid watcher of Netflix. I turn it on primarily for movies and the occasional TV series.

However, the recent phenomenon of the Netflix original series only interested me to a slight degree. Most of my attention went to how many of them there are.

Despite the Netflix Originals “invasion,” I only ever watched a few series and liked fewer; however, that changed this year with the release of Castlevania.

Castlevania is a Netflix original anime based on a video game series of the same name.

According to Rotten Tomatoes, it was not only a big success with viewers, but it was also the only video game adaptation to score a fresh rating. The show is sadly only four episodes long but is very good and will have a longer second season.

There was finally a Netflix original that I loved, and it made me interested in its future, as well as the future of other Netflix originals. I then began looking into Netflix and its original series, and what I learned started to change my opinion.

Netflix is already in the process of a total invasion — a plan to fill their library of content with their own programs. If you’ve been wondering why so many Netflix original series have been popping up, this is why.

Netflix had around 30 original series in 2016 and plans to double that number in 2017 (Variety). Well, we are in 2017 now, and it seems like Netflix has more than made good on that plan.

While this tactic started to annoy me, I’ve completely changed my tune because of Castlevania. I firmly believe that Netflix is doing a good thing here despite the saturation of their streaming platform.

Let me explain my reasoning. Netflix wants to and is competing with TV. They host a grand amount of TV on their streaming service, but they also want to back that up with content they have control over.

This comes as no surprise, as Netflix is going to be losing some popular series like “30 Rock” and “One Tree Hill” this fall due to a parent studio moving their shows off the streaming platform (Vulture).

It is clear that Netflix wants to be able to have its own library of content it can lean on should studios begin to pull their shows and movies.

Another thing that make this strategy good is how different each show is — “House of Cards” is not the same as “Stranger Things” and so on. Netflix wants to make a show that hits about every possible niche because they want everyone to have that one show they absolutely love.

That’s not only a smart move on their part but encourages new, varied content which is sorely needed today.

In my opinion, a lot of media is bland. Movies and shows are either sequels, reboots or the same tired genre. This explosion of new original content from Netflix may encourage studios and cable networks to follow suit and make fresh, original content.

My final and best reason behind why this invasion is a good thing is simply because it gives creators a chance to do what they love: create.

Netflix is allowing writers and directors to do what they love without another studio looming over them and dictating what their show or movie must do.

This can be seen firsthand in how Netflix does not need to conform to typical FCC ratings. Their shows can have various levels of mature content and still stream on their website. The lack of censorship alone has helped creators, as well as Netflix.

I agree that this aggressive plan is good for creators, as the creators gain freedom. I also agree that this plan is good for consumers, as we get to watch good, fresh content; however, is this plan good for Netflix?

Yes. In 2016 alone, Netflix’s subscriber count, sales and stocks all shot up and are starting to grow again this year. The company is also now worth around 60 billion dollars (Wired). That is fantastic news for a company, but what is behind this huge boost?

The answer is their original content. Netflix upped its game in 2016 for original content and spent around five billion on it. 2017 saw the same thing but with more original content and more money — around six billion dollars’ worth.

While those price tags are steep, they do seem to be helping the company grow significantly.

Ultimately, time will tell how Netflix’s invasion goes. I still think it’s a good thing for everyone, and I hope it all continues to be successful. Besides, I really want season two of Castlevania to be good.