Licensing content could be a gold mine for Netflix

Netflix could opt to restart mass licensing of movies and shows to fill its library back up

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The Future. On the hunt for increased revenue, Netflix could opt to restart mass licensing of movies and shows to fill its library back up with proven hits that people want to watch. The move could help retain people who signed up for a splashy Original, turning a churning viewer into a long-term subscriber.

Library refill
Licensing content used to be a growth generator for Netflix. Variety thinks it could be once again.

  • Licensed content still represents 47% of US viewership on Netflix, despite streamers losing many marquee hits as other studios have launched their own services.
  • Stranger Things is the only Netflix Original in the top-five most watched shows on the service, with NCIS, Criminal Minds, and Grey’s Anatomy constantly topping the charts.

One reason licensed shows racked up so much viewership is because not only have they been massive hits for years on broadcast, but they have continued for several seasons — something that Netflix hasn’t found economically viable for most of its produced shows.

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A move back into licensing content at scale couldn’t come at a better time for Netflix. The streaming war’s retrenchment to making money has led Warner Bros. Discovery to start licensing to FAST platforms, and Disney’s Bob Iger has signaled that the Mouse House could find “opportunities to license to third parties.”

Those developments were unheard of a couple of years ago… and may make Netflix the ideal home to offload shows no longer driving revenue for those streamers. But with Netflix possibly toying with the idea of licensing out its own Originals, no movie or show may ever be truly exclusive to any service ever again.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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