Quality Over Quantity: Netflix Reveals New Content Strategy

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Quality Over Quantity: Netflix Reveals New Content Strategy

By Movieguide® Contributor

Netflix is revealing plans for a strategy shift, emphasizing quality over quantity when it comes to its content. 

“Right now, we’re not trying to hit a set number of film releases. It’s about ‘Let’s make what we believe in,’” Scott Stuber, head of Netflix’s film division, explained. “And let’s actually put forth a slate that we can stand behind and say, ‘This is the best version of a romantic comedy. This is the best version of a thriller. This is the best version of a drama.’”

Stuber elaborated on that concept in an interview with Variety, asking, “How do we make sure that our consumer who’s used to a lot feels like there’s a lot?”

He acknowledged that it has been “difficult” but stressed that Netflix doesn’t want “a prescriptive number” when creating a yearly schedule. 

“I really want what is the best version of that and great is always perceived in all of our minds what that thing may be, but perception is really in the reality of what that is,” Stuber said. “So it could be a teen comedy. If it’s a teen comedy, make SUPERBAD, make AMERICAN PIE, make the best version of that thing I’ve ever seen. If it’s a drama, make BOOGIE NIGHTS, make GOODFELLAS.”

The streaming service is cutting back on its annual output, going from around 50 movies a year to 25 or 30. Netflix is also being more judicious when it comes to picking projects.

“The market got really frothy, and we were part of that,” Stuber said. “There were a lot of big star-packaged movies out there, and since we didn’t have anything in development or IP, we tried to get them aggressively. We were vulnerable to the marketplace.”

He continued, “We’re a machine that was built to go, go, go. And that doesn’t always result in quality. A lot of streaming companies made the mistake of moving so fast that we made a lot of things that weren’t ready to be produced. I want to avoid that.”

This change in strategy comes at a time when many are pointing the finger at Netflix for changing the entertainment industry, specifically when it comes to where the money goes.

A piece from The Hollywood Reporter quoted former network exec Jeff Sagansky as saying, “We are in a golden age of content production and the dark age of creative profit sharing.”

Steven Soderbergh added, “Without syndication, you can’t monetize your monster hits and turn their success into cash. Netflix has moved us, in economic terms, out of a Newtonian world and into a quantum world where it becomes very difficult to quantify whether or not it is quote, unquote worth making something.”

Movieguide® previously reported on other changes Netflix has planned for its content lineup: 

As competition among streaming platforms remains fierce, Netflix plans to continue drawing an audience by licensing older shows and movies rather than relying solely on original content.

During its third-quarter financial report earlier this month, Netflix told shareholders that the company “may have increased opportunities” to license more content in the future.

“We believe this will deliver additional value for our members…as well as for our rights holders who benefit from increased awareness and revenue that Netflix delivers, in addition to the new life that success on Netflix can drive,” the company said.

This new-life phenomenon has been seen many times as older shows shoot to the top of pop culture solely due to their easy access on Netflix. THE OFFICE and FRIENDS are older examples of shows that experienced this boom, with SUITS being the latest addition.