Netflix Seeks 'Higher Ground' With Obamas

It wasn’t that long ago that TV analysts were predicting what then-presidential candidate Donald Trump would do after he lost the 2016 election.

Pundits thought he would try to sustain his love for a receptive audience: Start a TV/media operation, perhaps a TV news network or other online media company.

It didn’t happen -- not exactly, anyway. Although President Trump’s early-morning tweets might lead people to believe otherwise -- given that tweet spin is a daily segment on cable TV news networks, which are heavy on presidential intrigue, firings, investigations and plenty of Russian-linked meetings.

For some time, President Trump -- our TV president -- has taken monetary and viewing credit, in a backhanded way, for any activity on those cable networks.

Now, Netflix wants a piece of the action -- in part. It struck a wide-ranging TV/film production deal with ex-President Barack and wife Michelle Obama for non-scripted, scripted programming, as well as films.



What type of material will the Obamas favor? Something aspirational and uplifting. Perhaps nothing too political. Netflix has plenty of room for such efforts, among its edgy and dramatic/comedic and other TV/film content.

Not sure if any of this content will have the intrigue and drama the Trump Administration routinely fosters. Still, all TV shows need to be compelling to some degree, with dramatic and/or comedic elements.

Of course, back-office presidential content, Washington, D.C. scandals and politics in general might be a growth area. Even now, a year and a half after the November 2016 election, political news on Fox, CNN and MSNBC is the only growth area on TV.

Netflix, with the right marketing spin, courtesy of the Obamas, could piggyback on this -- and possibly pull in a new kind of Netflix subscriber/viewer.

Looking forward: A growing subscription video content platform will need to find other “audience segments” -- the media-business vernacular of the day.

To do well, the Obamas need to hone, curate and fine-tune their brand. One hint comes from their production company’s name: Higher Ground Productions. 

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