Producing a new product is always a risky endeavor, and few industries are more in the dark as to whether their customers will enjoy the new product or not is television. You can sign a big star and established writers, but creating hit shows is still more art than science. Enter the digital era and the ability to crunch an insane amount of user stats, and you see why Netflix is now able to pump out original programming with a high probability of success.
As an example, for House of Cards Netflix’s data wranglers looked at a few simple metrics to determine whether or not to green light the political drama. The bones of an American version of the classic BBC thriller House of Cards was brought to Netflix with actor Kevin Spacey and director David Fincher already on board. Netflix then combed through all the data that it records from every activity on its site and saw that a high percentage of fans of the original BBC series also watched an above average amount of Kevin Spacey programs and were also fans of David Fincher. It therefore stood to reason that a remake of their beloved series with one of their favorite actors and respected directors would be a home run. Low and behold, it was.
Careers used to be made and lost on the ability to predict what television programs would be a hit with that season’s audience. This was true from television’s creation and continues to this day to some degree. Finally however, television media companies can use the kind of minute data that Nielson or other polling agencies could never hope to get. Media companies are now using hard user data to craft their product to better suit the market demand. Just another example of the way the old “push” methods of product development are dead, and customer “pull” is how the world operates now.
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