Inside Netflix's Monetization Model: Future Values Of Hit TV Series

TV monetization has changed in a big way -- especially for TV networks and platforms. But are dollars the right metric to measure things? Oh, yes.

TV networks could always count on big viewers to attract major ad dollars. In a day, the Super Bowl can bring up to $400 million.

And for 28 days -- and beyond? For one limited nine-episode Netflix series, “Squid Game” apparently that can mean $900 million in added value, according to a leaked Netflix report in Bloomberg News.

The report didn’t go into details. But we imagine this may consist of 1) potential new subscribers, 2) value from retaining existing subscribers, 3) value from new high-powered TV producers wanting to place programming/movies on its service, and 4) future “earned” media value by way of strong press reviews and stories.



Netflix says 142 million global accounts have accessed some or all of the “Squid Game” series' in its first four weeks on the platform. By way of rough comparison, the Super Bowl, the biggest regularly scheduled yearly individual TV show in the U.S., has maxed out at around 100 million to 110 million viewers.

Another NFL 2020 study estimates it was more like 135 million to 140 million -- due to all those special-day “viewing” parties.

But for Netflix, any of this data now isn’t enough. That “account” data for example, never tells you how much of the series is seen. That’s why Netflix is now moving to “hours viewed.” Mind you, it still does offer much in the way of determining the type of viewers in those accounts. In other words, the audience.

Still, it’s all about the content.

Netflix will continue its broad pursuit of content -- South Korean-produced or otherwise. That means spending on the small and niche, as well as the big. You don’t know where the next hit is coming from. The data will follow.

In that vein, going big with well-known producers has also worked well. Look what Shonda Rhimes’ “Bridgerton” did for Netflix. Before “Squid Game,” “Bridgerton” was the next best-viewed series, seen by 82 million accounts in its first four weeks.

Rhimes' initial $100 million multiyear deal, signed in 2017, has now expanded to $300 million to $400 million -- in large part due the success of the show.

Surely, TV producers and other business analysts will be laser-focused on future possible leaked reports that can yield eye-popping dollar estimates, like those that produce $900 million values.

The easiest data to follow: Show me the money.

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