Is the PBS model next for Netflix?

Netflix has done an incredible job over the last two years of establishing itself as a creative powerhouse akin to HBO in their glory days. However, original content like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black doesn’t come cheap and it is already having a negative impact on profit margins, even with 50 million paying subscribers globally.


The marketplace for other content is also going to increase in cost  driven by competition from all fronts including Amazon, there is only so much watchable stuff in the marketplace. With more than $8 billion in short and long term content cost obligations on their books it might make sense to move to a PBS model where certain programming is underwritten by a brand sponsor in order to keep their per monthly subscription cost below $10. I don’t think they would ever try to sell traditional :30 interruptions during a program. The caveat for Netflix would be having to share how many people stream each program which they now closely guard as a negotiating tactic with content suppliers. I think there would be a huge market to advertise on their platform and the market will eventually make this a no brainer option for them to offset the coming tidal wave of content costs.

Rethinking the Video Ad Unit

I firmly believe that video is the best way for brands to engage their audience. With the convergence of internet and TV, programmatic buying platforms, marketing cloud solutions that create deep consumer profiles and branded content as a pillar of a solid marketing plan I think it is time to re-think how we look at video ad units and consider everything branded content to sell your story. Each of these units has a place in the consumer’s journey and some make more sense for a brand depending on what you are selling and how considered the purchase is. Free organic reach is quickly going away so thinking about your content creative in the context of everything as a paid ad makes more and more sense. Here are the definitions I am going to start to use:

  • Less than 1 minute – Short Form
    • old definition “TV ad or pre-roll video unit”
  • 1 – 25 minutes – Long Form
    • old definition “branded video”
  • 25 minutes+ – Programming
    • old definition “infomercials”

In the context of a campaign you might buy short form to generate awareness to drive the consumer to long form to complete the path to purchase. If you think of this as one big story across multiple media platforms creative consistency across all of the touch points becomes even more essential for the story to make sense.