3 Lessons from Netflix's Wild Success with "Orange Is the New Black"

Tree Treacy
Tree Treacy Staff Writer, Content Equals Money

Posted on August 16th 2013

3 Lessons from Netflix's Wild Success with "Orange Is the New Black"

orange is the new blackIt’s been a month since Orange Is the New Black debuted, and the show has seen enormous success, immediately attracting more media attention than both of Netflix’s previous two releases this year (House of Cards and the fourth season of Arrested Development). Let’s look at just what went right.

Turning Around Bad PR

After the Qwikster debacle of 2011, Netflix needed a turnaround. When the site split up streaming and its DVD mailing service for the first time, charging users more if they wanted to continue to use both services, a number of once-loyal users dropped their subscriptions entirely.

But Netflix is enjoying success again. Orange is the New Black has garnered enormous popularity. The site does not publicly post ratings, but rather refers to its subscribers – at this juncture, about 30 million people. So how did Orange is the New Black rise to the top, garnering mainstream attention from media giants such as the New York Times and Rolling Stone?

1. Netflix took a huge risk.

The classic model of TV entertainment pushes one singular episode at a time, but Netflix released Orange is the New Black all at once. Netflix’s presence at the Emmy Awards this year with House of Cards proves that it’s possible to take a giant risk and still come out on top with quality content.

2. Netflix’s content is consistently available.

Even the HBO model of seeking out people who will pay for an entire season of high-quality content – and then releasing each episode one by one – has been completely disrupted by Netflix. In this way, consumer expectations have been permanently changed. Make a desirable thing available, and people will arrive at its door. Make a desirable thing exclusive, and people will pay for the key.

3. Netflix’s content is completely original.

Unless you’re counting the book that Orange is the New Black was based on, there is nothing like the show outside of Netflix. And to echo the importance of risk-taking, Orange is the New Black is a huge media surprise with its success as a show with an all-female cast.

What tips can you take from Netflix and it’s big success with ‘Orange is the New Black’?

Tree Treacy

Tree Treacy

Staff Writer, Content Equals Money

Tree is a somewhat nomadic graduate student pursuing an MFA in Poetry and Literary Translation from Drew University and currently very seriously settled in Atlanta, GA. A self-identified “diplobrat,” she spent over 16 years living as an expat in countries like Guatemala, Bolivia, and Tanzania. Tree graduated from Smith College in 2012 with a degree in Spanish Language and Literature, a minor in Studio Art, and a concentration in Landscape Studies. In between writing poetry for school and content for CEM, she dabbles in goat herding and freelancing. Other interests include reading, watercolor painting, gardening, and traveling.

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