Netflix is on a roll, with a US remake of BBC political drama House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey launching this Friday, and the long-awaited fourth season of Arrested Development coming soon afterwards.
It's clear that Netflix is gradually changing from a streaming movie download service to an online TV channel, producing its own original series – and it's showing no signs of letting up.
As well as House of Cards and Arrested Development, upcoming Netflix-produced series include Orange Is the New Black, Hemlock Grove, Derek and the second season of Lilyhammer. "The goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us," chief content officer Ted Sarandos tells GQ in a lengthy profile of the company – revealing that Netflix plans to release at least five new shows a year.
For the time being, HBO has kept its shows – including Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire – well away from Netflix. But Netflix is gambling that its pitch to showmakers – a $300m pot, a full-series commitment and no interference from the money men – will give it first dibs on the next big show. So far it seems to be working – Netflix has bagged The Social Network director David Fincher for House of Cards, Cabin Fever director Eli Roth for Hemlock Grove and Ricky Gervais for Derek.
Of course, UK viewers are still waiting for Netflix's UK offering to rival the US version's breadth of programming. And as Netflix shifts further away from its current incarnation as a streaming movie service and becomes something more like a TV channel, what will that mean for subscribers? We're watching with interest.
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