Growing up I always remember the comedy sitcom ‘Seinfeld’ being on TV around 7pm every week night. My family would religiously watch for an hour every night, including Thursday when they would air a new episode.
I bring this up because over this past weekend I set up Netflix for my dad, so he could watch the new stand-up comedy show ‘Jerry Before Seinfeld’. Prior to this my Dad just watched TV and used onDemand a bit but typically stuck to what was on TV at that time. I knew trying set up Netflix on the computer would be too much for my Dad, but now with the ‘app’ section on TV, I could easily set him up an account so he could watch more shows. After setting up his account he sat down and watched the ‘Jerry Before Seinfeld’. What this all reminded me off, was over a decade ago, when I wanted to watch a stand up special I had to take to HBO or Showtime. Those days of specials on HBO and Showtime is long over.
If you look through Netflix’s line up you will find top comedians that include, but not limited to, Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, Joe Rogan, Tracy Morgan, Jim Gaffigan, Amy Schumer, Chris Tucker, and Cedric the Entertainer. Beyond stand up acts many other comedians have taken to Netflix to produce original sitcom shows like Wet Hot American Summer, Friends from College, and Flaked. Netflix continues to shift it content to satisfy the viewers which means the content is always adapting to what people want.
Netflix has crunched the numbers and found out comedy was the most popular genre among viewers between the ages of 18-34. Because of the data analytics, Netflix has decided to jump into the stand-up comedian world. Netflix’s goal is to upload one standup special each week during 2017. Netflix first started launching stand up acts in 2012 with Bill Burr and he launched another special this past summer.
Paired with data analytics, Netflix sat down and made an adjustment to the course that they were on. The numbers said that viewers wanted to watch stand up specials, and launching a new Netflix original drama could cost them in the Billions, while launching standup’s only costs them $100 million. Netflix has decided to invest in paying for big talent; Dave Chappell and Chris Rock inked deals that required each to produce 2.5 hours of content, each comedian was paid $20 million. Netflix also attracted Jerry Seinfeld with $80 million package deal which includes two specials and his web-series ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’. Netflix tries to attribute their shift into comedy as a contributing factor to the addition of 5 million subscribers in the third quarter of FY ’17 which increased their stock by 8%.
Data analytics is a key factor to the success of Netflix. It helps them in two ways. (1) Removing content that a specific viewer will not watch and only showing programs that a particular viewer will enjoy. (2) Tracking what viewers watch (and enjoy) allows Netflix to shift the content to satisfy the needs of the customer. Netflix has shifted many times since its first inception and I can attest to these shifts because I used to have movies delivered to my college mailbox so my friends and I could watch different movies. Back in the day I would log onto their website and update my queue every few weeks in order to get the movies that I wanted shipped to me. Since then Netflix has shifted from a movie delivery service to an online streaming platform which then shifted a platform that delivers original content.
Netflix is using technology to help them make decisions on what is the best direction for their company. Decisions that might have once been made on “gut decisions” can now have analytical data to support the decision to adapt the company or not. The company has unlimited data on their viewers just based on the shows that they watch or don’t watch. This data has informed decision makers so they can justify the $80-million-dollar price tag that Jerry Seinfeld demands, to give viewers the content that they want.