This week, I started doing something I hadn’t done, besides for The Mentalist, since Lost ended its reign on ABC; I began watching a network TV show.
Its true: I have become a fan of NBC’s The Blacklist. So much of one, in fact, I’ve already finished more than half of the first season in just a few days.
How? Well, besides for having an almost embarrassing level of laziness, I was able to binge-watch last year’s major hit for the Peacock like I prefer to do: by streaming it on Netflix.
Just about a month ago, Netflix paid Sony Pictures TV (producer/distributor for the show) a reported $2 million per episode for rights to the first season, and began offering them up to customers in the US almost immediately. While the concept of Netflix providing exclusive online rights to a television series is nothing new, the record price (which beats out the $1.35 million paid for The Walking Dead) and quick-turnaround from deal-to-streaming certainly is. That, plus the fact that The Blacklist has only been on the air for a single season, makes this arrangement relatively unique for both parties.
An arrangement, in fact, that benefits NBC just as much, if not more, than it does Netflix itself.
Sure, it’s great for Netflix– more propaganda in their marketing arsenal to attract new members. But, just judging by my Twitter feed alone, I’m not the only one that passed on watching the first season of The Blacklist when it aired on NBC, only to find the show when it began streaming; and become a fan.
This is perfect for NBC, as the second season of the show begins airing on Monday. I’ve already set a season-pass on my DVR, and, though I don’t watch many non-HBO shows as-they-air, the potential for some good Twitter convos during the broadcast and lack of competition on Monday night will probably have me doing just that.
All of the recent-devotees to Red and his sociopathic antics only has the potential to strengthen the network’s ratings; which, in turn, leads to an increase in advertising revenue. It’s a win/win for both viewers and NBC– strong ratings, boosted by newcomers who just discovered The Blacklist on Netflix, means that there’s a likelihood for a Season 3; and, of course, there’s that whole more money thing for the Peacock, which they won’t complain about.
So, are we witnessing the future of broadcast television? Air one season, sell it to Netflix or Amazon Prime, and wait for Season 2 ratings to skyrocket?
Maybe. It’s certainly a good business model; but, first, you need to have a show that survives it’s first season, and has strong-enough appeal to the streaming audiences to catch up. Still, its an interesting concept, one that I hope to see more networks get on board with. As someone who usually doesn’t watch rookie shows anymore (I’ve been burned by too many “one-and-done’s”), I’d certainly appreciate the chance to binge-watch a newish show before its second or third season.
What about you? Have you recently become a fan of show, that’s still on the air, due to Netflix or Amazon Prime?