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What does it Mean to Create Essential Viewing?

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

Netflix is thriving. You’ve seen plenty of articles that highlight this, but it is undeniable that even if it is coming off the bingeing heights of its pandemic/Tiger King one-two punch, Netflix continues to reign as the #1 streamer in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

And according to this article, the streamer is considering taking advantage of this dominance by increasing prices. And according to that same article, people are pretty okay with it. Some recent polls show that over half of users would be willing to pay more, and that number increases when looking at people who watch 7+ hours a week (which honestly isn’t that much).

And talk about Netflix’s success touches on a very important word: essential. If Netflix, or any streaming service, can find itself in the enviable position of being deemed essential, then it has far more freedom to take risks with its pricing structure.

This is a topic that will be brought up in the overall discussions of strategy and retaining viewership, etc, but it does not get the kind of attention that it probably should. You can figure out new ways to grab people, and you can work on interactivity and synergy with big name celebrities or a host of other ideas to stay afloat. But once you are essential viewing then all you need to do is remain essential.

And the only way to become or remain essential is to have the content that people need to see. Yes, it always comes back to the quality of the content and how well it connects with the audience at large. Despite not having some of the biggest shows ever, and losing The Office next year, Netflix is becoming as standard as a DVD player and synonymous with watching streaming content because it is creating the content people want to watch.

And while Netflix does that by throwing an unbelievable amount of cash at creators, producing an overwhelming amount of content, this is usually not a possible strategy and also isn’t guaranteed (See: Quibi).

So if you don’t have a spare billion dollars laying around, you need to find the best content and make sure that it’s resonating with the audience. This is where AI becomes the best tool out there.

Utilizing AI that interprets content on screen and determines what is actually resonating with the audience is the most efficient and cost-effective method when determining both the kinds of content that is resonating as well as what inside the content can be replicated in the future.

It is the best way to deliver the series and films that viewers want to not only want to watch, but consider essential viewing.

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