Netflix: Does Exclusivity Beat Inclusivity?

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I was reading recently how Netflix have allowed a few of its deals with content providers to lapse as it wants to ramp up its focus on exclusive content. I love that Netflix is producing its own content now. Especially as it meant one of my absolutely favourite shows of all time, Arrested Development, could make its long-awaited come back. They aren’t skimping on the material, Netflix’s House Of Cards was produced by David Fincher and its two seasons will cost an estimated $100m.

And it’s not alone in doing so either. Amazon are working on their own material as is Microsoft with the revelation that the XBOX One is to play host to a live action Halo TV show masterminded by Steven Spielberg.

These are big names no doubt and these shows certainly will continue to generate massive buzz for their platforms, but to take your eye of other libraries simply because of lack of exclusivity seems short-sighted and kind of goes against the whole ethos of Netflix!

The consumer more than anything wants choice. That is why these online platforms are so appealing. Instead of paying for cable or satellite channels you would never watch , viewers are now given full control on when, where, what and how they watch TV and films. And once given that freedom it’s almost impossible to go back.

But they also want choice in content too. In fact they NEED choices And the means having as much content as possible.

I liken it to the video game industry. I have a PlayStation 3 because I get to play all of Sony’s first party EXCLUSIVE titles but also because I get access to all the great third pay MULTI PLATFORM titles. That choice is invaluable to me as a consumer and a video game player. And this is why Sony and Microsoft have been successful with their current gen systems. They offer both exclusives and non-exclusives.

Nintendo’s platforms on the other hand, traditionally aren’t strong on third-party partnerships so most of their success lies with their own (admittedly excellent) first party exclusives. This works well when you have a deep roster of exclusives that capture the public’s imagination but can prove risky when you don’t have compelling exclusive content and no quality third-party content to fall back on either. Nintendo suffered this fate during the GameCube era and are also feeling this now with the Wii U.

I am all for exclusive content – it adds huge value to its platform. But is has to be balanced with an extensive library of multi platform content.

I hope Netflix doesn’t loose sight of what it is that made it the success story that it is.

In this day and age, the consumer expects choice and one way or another they’ll get it.

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