Netflix is rebuilding the cable bundle, but there’s one conspicuous topic it is avoiding | CNN Business (2024)

Netflix is rebuilding the cable bundle, but there’s one conspicuous topic it is avoiding | CNN Business (1)

A sign is posted in front of Netflix headquarters on April 20, 2022, in Los Gatos, California. The streaming giant has shown little-to-no interest in investing in either live-news or pre-taped programming.

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Netflixis rebuilding the cable bundle, sans one important ingredient: news.

The company, having blown up the decades-old linear television business and ushered in the costly and destabilizing era of streaming, is inching closer and closer to resembling the entertainment behemoths of yesteryear.

Netflix has added advertisem*nts to its plans, a move it initially resisted for several years, touting more than 40 million monthly active users on its ad-supported tier on Wednesday. It has added live late-night comedy, most recently with the roast ofTom BradyandJohn Mulaney’s “Everybody’s In L.A.”And it has made great strides into the live-sports arena, despite public statements asserting it does not wish to wade far into such waters.

On Wednesday, the streaming giant announced that it had struck a groundbreaking deal with theNFLto broadcast not one, but two games onChristmas Daythis year. Those games add to the company’s ever-growing portfolio of live-sports offerings, includingWWE “Raw,”which will air exclusively on the platform starting next year.

“Last year, we decided to take a big bet on live — tapping into massive fandoms across comedy, reality TV, sports and more,”Bela Bajaria, Netflix chief content officer, said in a statement explaining the decision.

Notably absent from Bajaria’s statement and the company’s programming strategy, however, is news. Netflix has shown little-to-no interest in investing in either live-news or pre-taped programming (a la, a show akin to“Vice News Tonight”or“60 Minutes”). To date, it has neither publicly discussed nor launched any such projects. And in conversations with talent agents, it has made clear that the streamer has no interest in even dabbling in the news business.

“The entertainment platforms are not interested in news,” one talent agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told me. “Their audiences don’t want it and it can be polarizing. It’s just not worth it for them.”

In actively avoiding the news, Netflix joinsMetaas a pioneering technology and media company that has upended the business models news organizations have relied on for decades, only to turn its back on the industry.

To be fair to these companies, there are plenty of business reasons to avoid dabbling in the news. First, news reporting is simply not as popular as entertainment content. Second, and perhaps more importantly for these companies, news has become incredibly polarizing in recent years.

Dec 25, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) scrambles from Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Adam Butler (69) and defensive end Tyree Wilson (9) during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Jay Biggerstaff/USA Today Sports/Reuters/File Related article Netflix to air NFL games on Christmas Day in major expansion into live sports

Simply stating that the 2020 presidential election was not stolen —a proven fact— alienates Republicans. That polarizing factor means that not only is it more difficult to sell advertisem*nts around the content, but that by carrying such programming, there is a chance a swath of the customer base will be turned off by the brand and motivated to unsubscribe.

Which is all to say that Netflix investing in news programming would translate into spending money on content that is not as popular as other genres, but far more risky to the overall business. From a purely business standpoint, avoiding that type of programming makes sense.

Of course, the counterargument is that these companies perhaps have a civic responsibility to invest in news and public affairs programming — especially since they contributed greatly to the destruction of the business model that had supported television newsrooms for so long. Journalists are crucial to thriving democracies and the hollowing out of the news industry has vast implications for the future of the free world.

It’s anything but unprecedented for large media companies to invest money in journalism.Warner Bros. DiscoveryhasCNN.ComcasthasNBC News.DisneyhasABC News.ParamounthasCBS News.The list goes on. And, back when cable was ascendant and disruptive, as Netflix is today, the major carriers financed the birth ofC-SPAN,offering the public a continuous feed of its government at work. So, is it really out of the question to wonder whether a streamer like Netflix should consider a similar move to offer news programming that informs and enriches the public?

Rebuilding the traditional cable package without news is akin to putting together a meal that includes steak, potatoes and ice cream, but not the broccoli. The vegetables might not be the tastiest, most popular item on the menu, but neglecting them would not be healthy. Likewise, only investing in comedy and sports might be more satisfying for its audience, but it certainly isn’t a healthy choice for society.

That is the destination, though, where the current decisions are leading. And as the streaming revolution continues to take the wind out of the traditional cable bundle by poaching the rights to live sports, the once-towering television news outlets will be further diminished, turning the situation even more dire.

Netflix is rebuilding the cable bundle, but there’s one conspicuous topic it is avoiding | CNN Business (2024)


Netflix is rebuilding the cable bundle, but there’s one conspicuous topic it is avoiding | CNN Business? ›

Netflix is rebuilding the cable bundle, but there's one conspicuous topic it is avoiding. A sign is posted in front of Netflix headquarters on April 20, 2022, in Los Gatos, California. The streaming giant has shown little-to-no interest in investing in either live-news or pre-taped programming.

How did Netflix adapt to change? ›

As Netflix made changes in their operations, they watched their data like a hawk. They looked for trends on how people watched content, what kept them watching, and how personalization fueled content absorption. Then, they used an algorithm to serve up content tailored to their customers' specific interests.

What can Netflix do to improve? ›

  • Content Curation: Netflix could improve its content curation algorithms to provide more personalized recommendations based on users' viewing history, ratings, and preferences.
  • Quality Control: Ensuring a higher standard of content quality by curating a diverse range of high-quality movies and TV shows.

Who is Netflix's main competitor? ›

Amazon Prime and Hotstar are two pioneering and major competitors to Netflix in this race now.

How has Netflix changed cable? ›

It disrupted the existing revenue streams and business models of cable networks, studios, and distributors. Netflix paid less for licensing content than cable networks did, and it also created its own original content that bypassed the middlemen.

What is the secret of Netflix's success? ›

The choice to be customer focused or customer obsessed is not an easy one. Each model has its advantages and disadvantages. For companies like Netflix, focusing on the future wants, desires and needs of their customers in a way that will delight and surprise them has helped Netflix grow into the company it is today.

What makes Netflix different from its competitors? ›

According to Netflix, such an amazing user growth rate, Mainly due to the huge investment in original content, “Netflix's biggest competitiveness comes from its massive amount of original content.

Why is Netflix so successful today? ›

One of the reasons Netflix's engagement is so high is that it deploys numerous tools to coax a viewer to watch. And that's no small matter. There are more than 10,000 titles on Netflix and thousands more on other streaming services. Picking a show or movie is often tedious and frustrating.

How did Netflix embrace change? ›

Embracing Change Over Fighting It

Netflix leaned into industry changes and even cannibalized its DVD business to focus on streaming. As workers, we must view change as an opportunity rather than a threat.

How did Netflix overcome resistance to change? ›

They also invested in employees' professional development, providing training and education to ensure everyone had the necessary skills to adapt to the digital landscape. By involving employees at every level in the transformation process, Netflix successfully overcame resistance to change.

How did Netflix evolve over time? ›

Over the years, Netflix continued to innovate and expand its offerings. It introduced original content production, creating critically acclaimed series like “House of Cards” and “Stranger Things.” The company also leveraged data analytics to personalize recommendations and improve the user experience.

How does Netflix adapt to different cultures? ›

For example in countries such as Japan, France, and Germany, Netflix is prioritizing dubbed content as these audiences are known to prefer dubbing rather than subtitles. To achieve the best localization results, Netflix also does A/B tests and experiments to maintain authenticity in tone and language.

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