There's a new kid on the block. He looks a lot like the other kids but this one's different. He'll follow you around wherever you want, he'll tell you things the other kids won't, and most importantly, he'll pay attention to you. He'll listen to what you want, thinks about it carefully, and finds the best ways to make sure you get it. This is what Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos made clear at this year's Television Critics Association (TCA). Sarandos showed the industry that Netflix is now officially in the TV programming big leagues, rolling out its upcoming slate of shows that includes fresh ideas from Ricky Gervais and David Fincher as well as the much-hyped not-exactly-a-season-4-but-a-return-nonetheless of Arrested Development. But the bigger message seemed to be that while Netflix's programming may be starting to look more and more like what bigger, more established networks have been producing, Netflix is different. They're not beholden to advertisers, and they're not interested in publishing ratings for any reason. How will we know if a Netflix show is a hit? They answer is actually quite revolutionary-- they don't care if we do. For them, it is all about creating value for the folks that are there. Period.
Despite that Direct TV has been doing it for years, Netflix getting a lot of credit for bringing back a busted series. In this case they are bailing the Bluth gang out of forced retirement. But the bigger PR story here seems to be the binge release strategy whereby all episodes of each season will be made available simultaneously. What they will be no weekly episode reviews, no pushes to drive unified tune in, no twitter conversations syncing with each episode. Instead, Netflix is anticipating a burst of attention, followed by a slow, steady cycle of recommendation and discovery that will make the only people that matter--their subscribers--happy for a long time to come... or until the license ends.
I hope it works. This new kid had a rough 2012 but he's still around and I like a lot of his ideas. And I like how he treats me.