8 new developments at Netflix in 2017

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For the first time in its history, Netflix has crossed the 100 million member mark.

“Our streaming membership grew more than expected, from 99 million to 104 million, due to our amazing content,” the company’s leadership wrote in a July 17 letter to shareholders.

“It was a good quarter.”

Read more: Secret Netflix codes unlock super-specific movie genres

Here’s what’s new at Netflix

Chances are you may be one of the 51.92 million people in the U.S. — or perhaps one of the 52.03 million people in foreign markets — who subscribe to Netflix!

If so, here are some new developments you’ll want to know about…

Netflix is winning the battle of the boob tube

The streaming service snagged 91 Emmy nods for 27 Netflix original programs recently — almost twice as many nominations from the Television Academy as last year.

“Stranger Things,” “The Crown,” “House of Cards,” “Master of None” and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” together account for five of the 14 total best series contenders. That gives Netflix the most nominated series of any network.

More show cancellations may be coming

At the same time that more shows are finding traction, Netflix recently cancelled some original series like “The Get Down” and “Sense8.”

Viewers took to Twitter to vent their frustration. Yet there could be more cancellations of other shows to come.
“We strive to be bold in our programming choices and financially disciplined, so we can keep being bold. Every show has passionate fans and committed talent striving for excellence,” the company’s leadership notes.

“Sometimes those shows don’t attract as many viewers as we had hoped, compared to our other content. As much as we dislike ending a series early, it consoles us that it frees up investment for another new show, or two.”

A bigger push into movies is coming

The Netflix approach to films — debut movies on Netflix first, then explore possible theatrical distribution later — is completely different than the Hollywood approach.

Tinseltown prefers to have exclusivity in theaters first before pushing its products out along other avenues like the home DVD and streaming markets.

Yet Netflix hopes its unorthodox approach will “reinvigorate the film business.”

“This year we will release 40 features that range from big budget popcorn films to grassroots independent cinema,” the company notes.

“We are proud to produce films like ‘Okja,’ ‘War Machine’ and ‘Bright,’ with big stars, distinctive directors and compelling stories, as well as to introduce new voices like Macon Blair, whose directorial debut ‘I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore,’ produced by Netflix, won the Dramatic Jury competition at the Sundance Film Festival this year.”

Netflix may one day be sold as part of a cable bundle

The company recently inked a deal with cable provider Altice to be included as part of a high-speed Internet/TV package throughout France, Portugal, Israel and the Dominican Republic.

Though the deal doesn’t extend to the U.S., it one day could.

“These arrangements are mutually beneficial. Our partners gain more customers and can upsell existing subscribers to higher ARPU (average revenue per user) packages, while Netflix gains more reach and awareness with consumers across a market,” the company notes.

“We are likely to expand this approach as a complement to our direct-to-consumer primary approach.”

Netflix thinks everything is just Kumbaya with its competitors

The streaming service isn’t exactly gloating about the fact that it has grown from zero to more than 50 million subscribers in the U.S. over the last decade.

Instead, it’s saying there’s enough success to go around for everyone. Netflix points to concurrent subscriber growth at HBO as evidence of that.

“The largely exclusive nature of each service’s content means that we are not direct substitutes for each other, but rather complements,” Netflix says.

“The shift from linear TV to on-demand viewing is so big and there is so much leisure time, many Internet TV services will be successful. The Internet may not have been great for the music business due to piracy, but, wow, it is incredible for growing the video entertainment business around the world.”

Netflix doesn’t care about Amazon’s live sports ambitions

Amazon scored a big coup recently when it landed the right to stream Thursday night NFL games to its Prime members.

But Netflix isn’t playing sour grapes over the recently announced Amazon/NFL partnership.

“That is not a strategy that we think is smart for us since we believe we can earn more viewing and satisfaction from spending that money on movies and TV shows,” according to Netflix’s Q1 shareholder letter.

A new algorithm will track your viewing habits

Have you seen the new “percentage match score” when you’re poking around in Netflix? It’s an icon that indicates how likely you are to enjoy a new show or movie.

It’s also the public face of a new back-end algorithm that data mines your viewing habits to make recommendations about other content you may be interested in, according to Engadget.

The look of your thumbnails will be changing

This move isn’t expected to take place all at once in 2017, but you should expect to see a gradual introduction of videos to replace still image thumbnails.

A full phaseout of still image thumbnails in the interface is expected to take place over the next several years.

“Video for choosing video is an obvious direction, but doing it well through our interface takes judgment, creativity, and testing,” the company said in a prior investor letter.

Read more: Netflix vs. Amazon Prime Instant Video: Which one is better?

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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