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

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.

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