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Streamers Keeping Old Shows Alive
Sometimes the value is in the catalogue, for views and streamers alike.
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When it comes to streaming services, we often think they have to have “the next big thing” - a hit movie or, more often, the series that everyone is talking about - to attract subscriptions. Yet sometimes the value can be in the catalogue and the ability to bring an old(er) show to a new audience. In a time when fewer people are buying DVD boxsets, having a presence on streaming services keeps shows alive.
A clear example of this is “Friends”. (Obviously, I had to mention it this week.) When it landed on Netflix, there was plenty of hype about the show. This often involved younger writers who had never really seen it before explaining why they were so appalled at what they considered outdated jokes. Either way, being on Netflix and other services kept “Friends” in the cultural consciousness. This has been very evident in the wake of Matthew Perry’s death, as outlets and individuals highlight favourite Chandler episodes. (For the record, it’s “The One Where No One's Ready”.)
In a similar vein, The entirety of “The West Wing” is available on Channel 4 in the UK and Max in the US. The show looks very idealistic when viewing it now, but we may need some political comfort food as the US election campaign gathers pace.
Reboots run parallel to this. There is the new “Frasier” on Paramount+, and I suspect this has prompted plenty of people to dive back into the original series too. That same service has the entirety of Star Trek on it, including newer incarnations.
No doubt, every reader could pick their own shows that they have to periodically return to. Not only have I rewatched the entirety of “Friends”, but I have gone through “How I Met Your Mother” and “Brooklyn ‘99” too, both of which I never really got into when they were first broadcast. Without streaming I may well have missed them.
Interestingly, these shows may not always prove to be the best performing on a platform. For instance, the Netflix UK top 10 most watched list between 23 and 29 October was largely dominated by new shows. (It wouldn't surprise me if “Friends” snuck in this week.)
However, this does not mean older shows don’t help acquire and keep subscribers. Disney+ is, to at least some extent, based on the power of the catalogue. It provides a vast amount of classic movies and series.
The outlier to all this is Apple TV+. With the exception of some “Peanuts” specials, everything on that service is original. That makes it much more vulnerable to failures. If there is not a new show on there that you want to watch, why would you keep a subscription?
Anyway, I’m off to watch “Friends” from the beginning again. Or maybe “The West Wing”...
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