Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) has become a TV-alternative for many, especially those too busy to tune in at a schedule time every week for their favorite show — or to impatient to spread their television addiction over weeks and weeks of a season. Binge watching, as it has come to be called, is a big attraction that Netflix offers customers, and one that’s had considerable success so far. But this penchant for find a new show and watching the entire thing in a very short time has resulted in a change in how television networks and Netflix do business — and make TV.
According to Forbes, Netflix purchased the rights to CBS (NYSE:CBS) and TimeWarner (NYSE:TWX)-owned CW programming recently — and the deal came with some rather important stipulations. Shows that Neflix broadcasts may be cancelled, but the online media supplier will continue to be able to offer such shows to viewers for up to four years after their cancellation. What this means is that the ends of television shows become much more important, as it’s far more likely that viewers will be invested enough to finish a series than if viewership was spread over five years.
Previously, television series had a way of continuing on until they lost popularity and quality, then dying off early, sometimes with a poorly written and rushed conclusion that can’t help but disappoint viewers. The industry has changed, though — between viewers who are much more likely to get involved and start things like “Save Our Bluths,” and the campaign to revive Futurama, and the new pressure from Netflix for legitimate endings.
Netflix is a lot less likely to pick up a show if it doesn’t have a proper and well considered end — knowing full well that the way consumption works with its viewers puts a lot more emphasis on the end of a series. Networks like the CW and Comcast’s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) SyFy are leery of finding themselves unable to distribute via Netflix — an important new type of viewership. Proof of this can be seen in SyFy’s final season of six episodes for its show Warehouse 13, done, according to Forbes, to aid SyFy in retaining online distributors. Nakita is getting a fourth and last season from the CW for a similar reason.
The change is also visible in AMC’s (NASDAQ:AMCX) “The Killing,” which was cancelled twice by the network, only to be picked up by Netfix, independently from AMC for a final fourth season of six episodes — according to the New York Times. The show was cancelled by AMC in July of 2012 for the first time, but soon Netflix announced, it will be offering a conclusion to the drama, available worldwide.
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