Netflix to Expand Beyond Series Into Original Documentaries, Stand-Up Comedy Specials

Netflix Expand Beyond Series Into Original Documentaries, Stand-Up Comedy Specials

Netflix is moving to mimic HBO even more closely: The Internet streaming service’s execs said they will widen the original programming beyond TV series to include documentaries as well as stand-up comedy specials.

“Over the last six months, our move into original programming has begun to redefine Netflix in the eyes of consumers,” CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells said in a letter to shareholders discussing second quarter results.

In terms of relative size, about 5% of Netflix’s approximately $3 billion in content library net book value is for originals. That ratio could increase to 10% to 15% in the years ahead, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said at a recent investor conference.

Down the road, Netflix’s originals initiative will include “broadly appealing feature documentaries” and stand-up comedy specials. “Netflix has become a big destination for fans of these much loved and often under-distributed genres,” Hastings and Wells said.

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Netflix is still buzzing from garnering 14 Primetime Emmy nominations last week, with “House of Cards” earning nine nominations — including Outstanding Drama — while “Arrested Development” notched three, and thriller “Hemlock Grove” landed two.

“We couldn’t be more proud and pleased for the series creators, actors, composers, designers and others who are being recognized by their peers for the excellence of their storytelling on Netflix,” Hastings and Wells said.

Netflix has not disclosed any viewing metrics associated with specific shows. The company gauges success of each original title “by looking at viewing-to-date and estimated future viewing, relative to cost,” the execs said.

So far, Netflix has ordered second seasons of its initial four projects — “Lilyhammer,” “House of Cards,” “Hemlock Grove” and “Orange Is the New Black,” which the streamer picked up for a second run before the first season debuted. Netflix is in discussions with the cast of “Arrested Development” for a fifth season.

Later this month, Netflix will premiere “Mako Mermaids,” a series aimed at teen audiences, followed by Ricky Gervais series “Derek,” season two of “Lilyhammer,” and “Turbo: F.A.S.T. (Fast Action Stunt Team),” its first animated original from DreamWorks Animation.