Can Hollywood Compete With Netflix?

In 2013, Netflix broke the broadcast television format when they released all episodes for “House of Cards” at once instead of one episode a week. Especially in recent years, Netflix has become a fixture in the lives of so many people as we watched a lot of streaming programs during the COVID pandemic. But what is the rest of Hollywood doing to compete with Netflix in this battle for an audience?

On The Small Business Radio Show this week, I spoke with Dade Hayes, who for the better part of two decades has specialized in entertainment business coverage as a writer and editor for media including Deadline, Variety and Entertainment Weekly. At Deadline, where he is a business editor, he writes on a range of financial and business news, in addition to streaming, film, television, technology and advertising. His new book is called “Binge Times: Inside Hollywood’s Furious Billion-Dollar Battle to Take Down Netflix”.

Dade discusses how many Wall Street and entertainment pundits think Netflix, the streaming leader, is headed for a trap. His book argues, through interviews with executives, showrunners, technologists and investors that the company has certain advantages that will keep it ahead of the curve for a long time since they defined what binging was. They paid a lot of money up front for talent, but then had those assets with no remnants in the back. Plus, Netflix’s investment in gaming shows how well the company is attuned to trends that are reshaping the landscape.

In 2019, Dade says the widespread belief was that all media companies needed to disrupt themselves and make a major shift into the digital age, no matter the cost. But current thinking favors a more blended approach, balancing revenue-producing legacy businesses with expensive streaming ventures. Comcast’s mockery of its incremental approach to Peacock that looks smart in hindsight.

The streaming companies are also going global with programs like Squid. Netflix has an edge over its rivals, although Apple, Disney and Amazon are making deals with top talent and investing heavily in local language content that dominates distribution.

Listen to the entire interview with Dade on The Small Business Radio Show.

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Image: Dade Hayes

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