David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
You’d think a big new TV revenue source that has goosed income, built audiences and boosted marketing might be the favored guest at a show creator’s next holiday gathering, but that’s not necessarily the case, a panel of industry notables said today at a conference in Los Angeles. In fact, sometimes they spend as much time referring to Netflix as “the N word” as they do celebrating the good things it might do for their shows.
And there are some reasons for that ambivalence. As the streaming-video giant creates and markets more of its own shows, it creates branding problems and other conflicts for networks and producers with shows on the service. As Netflix pushes for the rights to run more recent shows, networks are pushing back. And as Netflix builds deeper knowledge about customer preferences, but doesn’t share enough of that data, distributors and creators have found new ways to be unhappy, even if they appreciate the very real benefits of their Netflix deals.
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“I think [Netflix is] the true definition of frenemy,” said Chuck Saftler, FX Networks’ COO and President of Program Strategy, during the The State Of Next Generation Television panel at the Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey. “We make money when Sons of Anarchy is on Netflix. But as they put out more original content, and call House of Cards a Netflix original, and Orange Is The New Black a Netflix original (and mix that with messages about FX shows), that becomes a concern because it starts to lump our brand in with theirs.”