Everybody's favorite over-the-top poster boy, Netflix, is said to be about to buy the rights to an original TV series. Maybe they are, and maybe they aren't, but it all sounds to me like a rerun. I'm thinking of Google and some of the projects they've done and why they did them. You know what I mean... Bidding on wireless spectrum they didn't really have any plans to use. Spearheading a consortium for a transpacific cable just to shake up tighter bandwidth markets in the far east. Shaking up the browser market by building a new one that has never made them a dime. And of course, dangling a 1Gbps fiber-to-the-home project in front of every bandwidth hungry city in the country when we all know they don't want to be a telco. What did they get out of all that, where does it show up on either the top or the bottom line?
It shows up in the future environment for their business overall. It's easier to sail a ship when the current happens to be going where you want it to go. The same is true of Netflix, which is why I think they're flirting with the director's chair. They need content, they want it to appreciate being on the net. They want people to think of it as the place where content should be, not as the place where it goes grudgingly. By stepping up to the plate to produce unique content for their platform, they are basically daring HBO and TV networks to think differently about the whole content food chain.
So whether they buy this particular show or not, I don't think Netflix is preparing to transform itself into a studio in a big way. They're just trying to effect a change in the environment that will help them get where they want to go. Shake things up a little.
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