Media

Netflix explains its strategy for getting into the crowded 'late night' talk show business

Netflix teams with Chelsea Handler
Image Credit: Chelseahandler.com

Netflix isn’t worried that the large number of competing late night talk shows will hurt its own show with E! host Chelsea Handler, according to VP of programming Ted Sarandos.

Last month the company announced that it had poached Handler for a new original talk show series that would look something like the “Chelsea Lately” program that airs on E! It faces a bunch of talented competitors, like TBS’s Conan with Conan O’Brien, NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and CBS’ The Late Show with David Letterman (soon to be Stephen Colbert’s gig). But it’s a crowded market, one that Netflix may find is not as welcoming the segments it jumped into with Orange is the New Black and House of Cards.

“You should think of it as closer to how people are actually going to watch [late night talk shows], just like we did with serialized dramas,” Sarandos said during an earnings presentation today.

Sarandos explained that people are rarely tuning in to watch these shows late at night and instead catch them the following day, week, or month via clips on the Internet. That fits nicely with Netflix’s business, which is almost totally Internet video now.

His comment begs the question of whether we’ll slowly start to see Netflix break up its episodic content when it makes sense. HBO uses this strategy currently for its new current event’s news satire show from John Oliver (Last Week Tonight), uploading one or two segments to YouTube at a time to gain attention.

But for now we’ll have to wait and see. Check out the video presentation for more in-depth comments from Sarandos and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on the matter.