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Netflix Competing with Hollywood Franchises by Securing Rights to Established Brands to Satisfy Hungry Fans

Derek Walborn

Netflix has done some amazing things since its inception. It first completely revolutionized the home video market by providing DVDs directly through the mail via a subscription service. Slowly, it began to offer content on demand via its website and thus paved the way for the streaming world as we know it today.

For the time being, Netflix is sitting pretty. It has an unprecedented level of subscriber satisfaction and loyalty compared to competitors like Hulu in spite of missing its Q1 goals by a long shot.

However, there is something that Netflix has not been able to completely sink its teeth into.

Producing licensed content for established properties that already have a rabid, hungry fanbase has thus far eluded the company. While Netflix has done very well with original series like “Stranger Things” generating a devout following, starting from scratch is clearly getting old.

It’s beloved legacy content from brands like “Star Wars” and Marvel that has allowed competitors like Disney+ and discovery+ to pick away at Netflix’s dominance in the market, as it doesn’t have a back catalog of original material to dip into, expand on, and continually re-introduce to fans new and old alike.

Last year, Netflix created a division within the company to better focus on obtaining franchise rights. This “events/spectacle team” is helmed by VP of original series Peter Friedlander and is “focused on finding that next project that may be our next franchise,” said Friedlander.

The team is leading the charge when it comes to scouting for IP with the potential to garner ratings and viewership, but also welcomes pitches from creators.

When it comes to what exactly Netflix is looking for, it’s a bit of a “we’ll know it when we see it” scenario.

“There is no checklist,” said Friedlander. “It’s not just me, but a number of talented, passionate superfans inside Netflix that are constantly mining IP or hearing pitches from storytellers that are so riveting they seem undeniable.”

Friedlander explained that Netflix often looks for franchise potential when considering content.

“I’m hoping that the spectacle shows we’re creating could one day become franchises,” Friedlander said. “The franchise team focuses on building those out.”

Putting their money where their mouth is, as of March Netflix was going all-in with 90 shows in development based on already established properties across comics, books, manga, and video games.

Here are a few standout adaptations as examples:

  • “The Three-Body Problem:” Based on a science fiction novel by Chinese author Liu Cixin
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:” A live-action installment of the popular animated series.
  • Tim Burton’s “Wednesday:” Wednesday Addams gets her own show in this spin-off drama series.
  • Cowboy Bebop:” The anime series gets a live-action adaptation courtesy of Netflix.
  • “Vikings: Valhalla:” a spin-off of History Channel’s “Vikings.”
  • “Assassin’s Creed:” based on the blockbuster Ubisoft video-game franchise.
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