The term ‘Netflix Original’ may, at first glance, seem simple. Surely it’s a show that’s purely created for Netflix, right? Well… kind of.
We’ve all seen the little Netflix Original tickets appearing at the start of TV shows; from ‘Pretty Little Liars’ to ‘House of Cards’, but sometimes you’re left scratching your head, thinking I swear I saw this show on Hulu the other month. When that’s the case, how can the title be an original?
Well, to put it simply, shows with the Netflix Original sticker attached to them are ones that have been funded and ordered by the streaming giant. Others, like ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, were created first, then pitched to Netflix and snapped up, meaning that they are a true exclusive on the platform. But it gets a tad more complex than that.
Just because a show has the Netflix Original tag attached to it, doesn’t mean that it’s exclusively available on Netflix, at least not on a global scale, anyway. For example, here in the UK ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ is under the Original tab, but in America the sci-fi series was created to air on CBS. In the eye of them UK consumer, the show is exclusive to Netflix, as in the UK it’ll be unavailable to watch anywhere else. When you look deeper into the production of the show, however, the term becomes a bit murkier, and really comes down to simply gaining the distribution rights.
Furthermore, shows that have been picked up by Netflix a few seasons into their run (like ‘Orphan Black’ or ‘Arrested Development’) will have the Original title attached to their newest seasons, as Netflix are the ones who funded and comissioned them from another network.
Essentially, Netflix Original shows are ones that fall into one of three categories:
Really, it’s similar to any distribution company, like seeing the ‘Paramount’ logo before the start of a movie. Someone pitches them an idea, Netflix gives them ‘x’ amount of money to snap it up on their service, and they slap the Netflix Original terminology at the start. Simply, really.
Basically, then, it comes down to throwing a lot of money around and snapping up shows to become exclusively available on their service, making them look more appealing against their competition. And it’s working. As of April this year, Netflix totalled 125 million total subscribers worldwide, showing just how impressive the service is.