Get ready to start binge watching the news. After conquering scripted fare and becoming the go-to platform to indulge our easily hooked and addiction-prone brains with scripted fare, Netflix is focusing its magic touch on something that has a bit more immediacy in its DNA – broadcast journalism.
In a recent article with Variety, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings confirms the company’s sincere interest in carving out a Netflix shaped hole in the world of journalism, because a product that has essentially become a legitimate excuse to become a hermit from the outside world is the perfect venue to try to tell people what’s actually going on in said world.
In all fairness to Netflix’s newsy aspirations, a televised journalism program isn’t all that unorthodox. After all, there’s the wildly popular and ever-present 60 Minutes on CBS. And while that program may not exactly appeal to a demographic under 45, HBO has turned millennial baiting Vice into a buzzy, documentary series. In fact, the success of Vice on HBO has caused the premium cable network to strike a new deal with the online rag for a nightly news program.
Still, there’s one huge caveat when picturing Netflix airing news. All of Netflix’s original programs see all of their content become available instantly. That’s not something Netflix will feasibly be able to do with the news, unless Netflix is actually a psychic entity. Investigation pending.
Netflix reps have clarified that the company has no interest in doing reporting or live news, meaning that they could seemingly aggregate many of the biggest, most provocative news items throughout a period of time and release content around those under their all-at-once model. This will probably come in the form of documentaries, a form that Netflix is already gaining momentum in.
Another avenue Netflix could, and is already set up to go down, is the talk show route. Comedian Chelsea Handler is set to debut her highly anticipated talk show on Netflix at some point in 2016, though the format and how Netflix will distribute her show remains unclear.
Still, the fact that Netflix seems steely in its determination to put out content that hinges on immediacy and timeliness remains a puzzling venture for their brand and model. Then again, models are made to be broken. Netflix could very well decide to start putting out weekly or daily content when it comes to their journalistic content, similarly to how rival Hulu distributes their original content.
A betting man would probably guess that’s how they’ll handle Handler’s talk show, as binge watching that sort of content seems a bit counterintuitive. Though if there’s one thing Netflix has taught, it’s not to underestimate the platform that started out as just a DVD rental service.