Or Fox and CBS? Or CW and AMC? Okay, I’m going too far obviously, but my point is that the two streaming giants are making noticeable strides in becoming “real” networks, whatever that means.
Like pretty much every other millennial, I prefer Hulu to broadcast television and Netflix to renting movies. As a result, I’ve noticed Hulu and Netflix have been pushing original series that can only be seen on their platform (in the states at least).
When I first noticed this a couple of years ago, I presumed that they would only be able to afford miniseries with forgettable actors and web series, but they are proving me wrong with the release of these new shows that actually have a lot of recognizable talent.
Hulu, for example, is releasing three big shows this year. The first is an animated comedy series about superheroes who quit their jobs called The Awesomes. If the show has one thing going for it, it’s that Seth Meyers of SNL is the head writer and the teaser is pretty funny.
The next is a show Hulu is doing in partnership with BBC called The Wrong Mans. Family and friends of mine know that I am a huge fan of British television (if you haven’t watched Skins or Misfits, you are missing out), so this one is at the top of my to-do list. This is a dark comedy, of course, about friends who stumble upon a criminal conspiracy. The best part? It has James Corden. Check out the trailer.
They’re also coming out with a documentary about sports mascots. Read that sentence again.
Netflix is being even more ambitious with the release of Season 4 of Arrested Development this spring, which is really catering to their fan base (the connection being that Netflix users watch Arrested Development ALOT, myself included). They are also coming out with 5 other shows to debut this spring, such as Lilyhammers, House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, and Orange is the New Black.
Like I said, Hulu and Netflix are serious about original programming, hence they are pouring huge sums of money into this investment. Even Amazon Instant is joining in on the action with their own programming.
So, what does this mean? Will Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon eclipse the traditional format of broadcast television?
I say follow the money. Right now, the money is behind CBS, Fox, ABC, NBC, etc. Unless streaming platforms gain the lobbying support of investors, major networks won’t go away, and streaming will be the next cable. It’s like how FX, TBS, AMC, and Comedy Central will never actually kill CBS. They’ll just be better.
Keep in mind, however, that the majority of shows being consumed on streaming platforms is produced by cable, with Hulu being the exception, just barely. Though the major networks have American Idol and The Big Bang Theory, streaming and cable have Breaking Bad.
So the future ultimately rests on the tastes of the masses. God help us.
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