Mailbag: A Netflix/AMC Deal to Save 'The Killing' Probably Makes More Sense for AMC Than for Netflix

Categories: Cable TV,Internet TV

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November 10th, 2012

You always snark on Deadline for doing the "Netflix Eyes..." posts, but you always report on them! You know why? Because people are interested! Admit it! Besides, looking past the fans who were irritated that AMC pulled a fast one on them by not solving who killed Rosie Larsen -- it was like Lucy & Charlie Brown and the football-- doesn't such a deal actually make a lot of sense for both AMC and Netflix? A lot of the trade press thinks so.

Orlando, Fl

I have no problem admitting the "Netflix (or Amazon, or Hulu or <insert other streaming services here> Eyes [insert canceled show here]" stories are interesting -- sometimes very interesting -- and that people are interested in them. That is indeed why we cover them.  Further, I have no problem believing that the number of canceled TV shows that Netflix (or Amazon, or Hulu or <insert other streaming services here> eyes (or at least gives a quick sniff test to) is a much higher number than will ever actually be resurrected by the streaming services. But for me (and perhaps only me) some of the reported eye-ings (notably  'Pan Am') strain credulity.

Indeed I have seen a few of the trade press posts that think resurrecting 'The Killing' would be a good move for both Netflix and AMC.

It's clear to me under the right terms that it could make a lot of sense for AMC. They'd get piles of cash from Netflix -- in any such deal Netflix would have to license the first two seasons of 'The Killing.' AMC would also get the potential benefit of the that licensing, which, at least theoretically is that people flock to Netflix to catch up on the show's first two seasons and then line-up to watch season 3 on AMC thus boosting the actual TV ratings.

There's certainly at least an anecdotal case to make that very heavily serialized shows do see bumps in TV ratings when prior seasons are available on Netflix and/or other streaming services. AMC has seen that first hand with 'Mad Men' and 'Breaking Bad' and FX's 'Sons of Anarchy' also comes to mind.

In the deal being hashed out, at least as reported, AMC still gets the exclusive first window for the new episodes. Netflix would probably get the streaming exclusive -- at least for a while - for the old and new episodes, but I don't see that being a big "get" for Netflix in terms of subscriber acquisition or moving the needle in terms of the competitive landscape for streaming services.

As a result, I can envision deals that make sense for AMC, but at the financial terms that would make sense for AMC, I wonder if they make sense for Netflix. Given the relative paucity of interest in 'The Killing' in general,  I'm not sure there's really a compromise position that makes good sense for both sides. We'll have to wait and see.

  • Oliver

    I suspect what you’re missing is that Netflix doesn’t just operate in the US, but is also aggressively expanding internationally.

    Significantly, Netflix also operates in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland, all territories the original Danish version of The Killing is very popular.

    This isn’t without precedent: Lilyhammer is only a Netflix exclusive in the US/Canada and is broadcast by broadcast networks in other regions.

  • Robert Seidman

    @Oliver: fair point. My assumption given both the current makeup of Netflix and AMC’s goals is that most of the value for Netflix and AMC in a deal for ‘The Killing’ (and as a result most of the expense) would be U.S.-based. That premise may be wrong. Clearly in the case of Lillyhammer the biggest value to Netflix, whether it panned out or not, was the U.S. exclusive.

  • Eric Robinson

    Does the fact that The Killing is one of the most popular tv shows on Netflix mean anything?

  • Robert Seidman

    @Eric: if you mean in terms of the “Popular on Netflix” listings that show up for Netflix users, I’d guess “no, not at all.” At least in my own case, that list is pretty clearly associated with/calculated against other things I’ve already watched on Netflix rather than a list of “shows with the most streaming.” ‘The Killing’ doesn’t show up for me in that list and yet SGU, Magnum P.I. and Star Trek Enterprise do…

    If it is indeed a fact that “The Killing” season 1 is one of the most popular TV shows on Netflix based on actual streams, then yes, it means something.

  • DNice

    Interested in seeing how this pans out.
    Love The Killing!

  • Anthony

    I completely agree. I could see why it would be beneficial to Netflix if it got to air the series first but I don’t see how a series with such low ratings would be very valuable to netflix in the second run.

  • Herb Finn

    Now if Netflix and CBS can pull of reviving JERICHO, that might be impressive – a show out of production for close to 5 years.

    (Am I the only one holding out for a STAR TREK revival with Geroge Takei as Captain Sulu….)

  • Danny Thomas

    In other words, you’re saying that AMC is making a Killing here.

  • skkk

    Does this mean it would air on AMC and then be on Netflix or would it air straight on Netflix?

  • Anthony Parello (AP076)

    “Besides, looking past the fans who were irritated that AMC pulled a fast one on them by not solving who killed Rosie Larsen ”

    Is Kevin mistaken or did I read this wrong. We know who killed Rosie, right?

  • John

    @Anthony Parello

    I’m guessing they’re talking about the season 1 finale. A crapload of fans were angry and gave up on the show because the murder wasn’t solved the first season. I believe if the show had a new murder for season 2, it who’d had better ratings for a renewal, guess that’s what they’re wanting to test out.

  • Meryl

    The killing was solved at the end of season 2 and that whole season aired on AMC. Maybe Netflix should air those next

  • Anthony Parello (AP076)

    Thanks John and Meryl

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