Much has been made about the timing of content regarding Netflix's drop in second-quarter subscriber count in the U.S. — especially where its new third season of “Stranger Things” is concerned. “Things” released on July 4 (the start of the third quarter), weeks after HBO’s “Game of Thrones” aired its last episodes. (second quarter).
But maybe, just maybe, there is something else to consider — an overall quality issue at Netflix.
Trouble is, how do you measure this? Netflix isn’t like CBS, NBC, ABC or Fox. Many might look at traditional TV’s current schedule -- especially prime time -- to gauge some value. But with Netflix, everything is on-demand, full seasons available immediately.
Can you measure Netflix’s quality versus CBS in terms of pure TV content, especially now that CBS is in the midst of a carriage issue with AT&T’s big DirecTV pay TV service?
Some analysts believe overall content on Netflix will continue to be average at best. Can the subscription video-on-demand platform truly find more hits than any other network — ABC (broadcast, ad-supported), HBO (cable, no advertising), or AMC (cable, ad supported)?
Most of this focus is about Netflix’s big viewing original programming -- like “Stranger Things,” “Orange is the New Black” and the older “House of Cards.”
At the same time, Netflix continues to seek major TV and movie award hardware (in part like HBO), when it comes to Emmys, Oscars, whatever. This is its effort to define “quality.”
This might not mean much for TV advertisers, especially the Netflix reference. But one might wonder what marketers’ bigger concern is around brand safety.
Brand safety has never really be equated with quality, though some may believe so.
Advertisers are largely comfortable; media schedules are safe on the big broadcast and cable TV networks. Would that remain if advertising were allowed on HBO? Imagine a media schedule next to an original, unfiltered, uncut episode of “Thrones” or “The Sopranos.”
Now think about the video content on YouTube and Facebook. Brand safety takes on a new association -- and not a good one for many.
We are in, what has been called, the age of peak TV. But is it really just peek?