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Netflix, the film and television subscription service, has taken a big step into territory dominated by broadcasters and pay-TV operators after entering exclusive talks to buy US rights to a new political series starring Kevin Spacey. Its bid could reach as high as $100m.
Each year, dozens of shows on network and cable television get cancelled. Most of these cancellations are for good reason. But every once in a while the hammer comes down on a show that’s considered to be a cult hit — or one that could turn out to be a real hit, if given more time. The problem, of course, is that these shows often don’t have the massive viewership numbers to sell a large amount of advertising against. But that model doesn’t apply to Netflix.While shows that are called “cult hits” are often thought of as mainstream flops, the reality is that they still have millions of people who watch them. And the “cult” aspect implies that a large percentage of those viewers are insanely loyal to the show. Again, that doesn’t mean much to the networks where more is better (for advertising), but for Netflix, if they could convert a significant percentage of those loyalists in to paying customers, it works.