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Netflix Bets on Reality TV

Updated: Aug 27, 2021

During these streaming wars, with no end in sight, of all the things Netflix could fill its library with, it looks like reality TV is where they're placing their chips. According to this article:

Netflix has announced a major expansion of its reality-themed original programming, renewing some of its most popular non-scripted shows, while conducting what it calls the "largest reality casting call ever" to develop new ones.

This is not completely surprising. After all, shows like The Circle and Love is Blind certainly made cultural impacts, far more than a lot of the films they've released, which tend to be far more expensive to produce.

But while this decision makes a lot of sense, there are certainly things the streamer should take into account that can turn these shows from time wasters to full-fledged phenomena. And AI can be a big part of this.

The biggest X factor of a reality show, after the premise, is the editing. The way a show is edited can pretty much make or break this kind of programming, and there is plenty to learn from how successful and failed shows have approached editing, as well as other post-production techniques.

By using AI to break down all of the elements of these shows, Netflix will be armed with crucial info about what is resonating with viewers and what is no longer keeping their attention. This does not require a retooling of the show, but rather just a sense of how things would work better if they recreated or avoided pacing, music and whatever else resonates with viewers.

This obviously can't guarantee these shows will be hits, but it certainly helps inform execution and can create more reliable approaches that will not only mean stronger content but less guesswork (and regular work) before it's finished.

Considering how many variables are at play, it's not clear if this strategy will work for Netflix, but if they want the best reality TV possible, they need to start using technology like Resonance AI.

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