August 19, 2019
Original content has been the star on SVOD services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, with upcoming services Apple TV+ and Disney+ teasing originals in celebrity-filled press conferences. But catalog content is an important supporting player.
Certainly, originals can attract eyeballs, said the NPD Group’s Kathi Chandler-Payatt at last month’s EMA summit. She noted that while both original movies and episodic shows are a small percentage of content on Netflix, they garner an outsized share of viewing.
Still, originals aren’t the only shows that keeps viewers subscribing, noted Screen Engine/ASI’s Mark Orne at the event. Subscribers often stay with a service based on go-to backup shows, mostly long-running hit comedy series, such as “The Office,” “Friends,” “South Park” and “Family Guy.” It’s why Disney+ streaming “The Simpsons” from its Fox acquisition is a smart move, he noted.
No wonder WarnerMedia pulled “Friends,” and Universal “The Office,” from Netflix for their upcoming services.
Indeed, speakers on a consumer panel at the EMA summit said that they like to stream while doing other activities, such as cleaning a room, not the kind of thing one can do while viewing a gripping original. One even noted she likes to go to sleep to certain familiar shows.
Meanwhile, a few hits might not be enough to keep viewers subscribing, as consumers are willing to pay for a month or take the free trial, watch and cancel, or share passwords, Orne said.
While they may like the occasional title equivalent of a gourmet meal, consumers also like to binge on titles that are comfort foods. SVOD services that can offer a wide menu may be the winners in the OTT race.