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Netflix plans to bury traditional TV with its own shows

Barry Collins
21 Apr 2015
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TV is going the way of the fax machine, says Netflix boss

Netflix says it plans to hammer the nails into the coffin of traditional, linear television by continuing to commission its own hit series. The company has produced several of its own shows, including House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black and Lilyhammer, helping it to become the biggest video-on-demand service in the world. 

Now, according to the company's chief executive, the company plans to commission even more series, as it plots to topple regular over-the-air broadcasts. "We've had 80 years of linear TV, and it's been amazing, and in its day the fax machine was amazing," he said in an interview with the New York Times. "The next 20 years will be this transformation from linear to TV to internet TV."

In addition to producing 17 of its own original series, Netflix has continued to produce series that have been dropped by other television networks, such as a fourth series of the crime thriller The Killing and another season of the comedy Arrested Development. It has also commissioned dozens of one-off films. 

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Netflix's own shows have won the company a string of Emmys and other prestigious awards, and Hastings says the quality of the company's output is forcing other big names in the industry to raise their game. "I predict HBO [makers of series such as Game of Thrones] will do the best creative work of their lives in the next 10 years because they are on war footing," he told the newspaper. "They haven't really had a challenge for a long time, and now they do. It's going to spur us both on to incredible work."

HBO has recently launched its own streaming service, although it's currently only available in the US. Hastings predicts that viewers will subscribe to several streaming services to watch their favourite shows on the different networks, perhaps ultimately at the expense of an all-encompassing satellite or cable subscription.  

HBO isn't the only threat to Netflix. Amazon is pursuing a very similar model, offering a mixture of homegrown and bought-in television series to viewers via Amazon Prime Instant Video, whilst Apple is heavily rumoured to be preparing a revamp of its television offering. 

Netflix has another major advantage over the traditional television networks: all of its shows are ad-free. Television executives reportedly fear that advertising income will soon begin to fall as more people switch to watching streaming services, reducing the amount of money they have to spend on their own shows - which also form a large part of the Netflix offering. That situation may lead to television networks refusing to sell their shows to Netflix to preserve their exclusivity, but Hastings isn't concerned. "We just do more originals," he told the New York Times.

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