Is Harry and Meghan’s First TV Project What Netflix Really Wants?

Is Harry and Meghan's First TV
Yinchen Niu/VIP; AP Images

Seven months after announcing their production deal with Netflix, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have revealed their first project for the streaming service.

While the docuseries, which goes behind the scenes at the Invictus Games, sounds wonderfully high-minded, you have to wonder what its value truly is given the “megawatt” payout Netflix signed with the power couple for a multiyear deal encompassing unscripted and scripted TV, films, docs and kids’ programming.

As part of the deal, the Sussexes have made clear they won’t be trading on interest in their life story, which Oprah Winfrey helped them mine so brilliantly last month in a highly rated special. Their statement at the time of the announcement variously describes the goal as “content that informs but also gives hope,” “inspirational family programming” and “impactful content that unlocks action.”

But Archewell Productions’ “Heart of Invictus” does not remotely sound like what their tabloid-driven audience wants. The content in question seems more like an exercise in their image rehabilitation, funded by Netflix.

What they are really being paid for is attaching their names to content, which will certainly help their work cut through a cluttered streaming world chockablock with programming options too numerous to really stand out. The value Harry and Meghan will probably most bring comes to making themselves available for interviews to publicize the content that bears their imprimatur.

Maybe this is all of negligible concern for Netflix, where $100 million isn’t really that much money. But the time will come when subscriber numbers take a dip for a quarter or two and hard questions are asked about content investments. Rest assured this deal will be on the list of what gets second-guessed.