During the Christmas holidays, People with Anxiety premiered on Netflix. Thus, in one fell swoop, a Swedish TV series will be available to several hundred million people in 190 countries. In an interview with Dagens Industri, the director, Felix Herngren, has this to say:
But does that also mean that you are competing with huge amounts of content?
"Yes, but I think it's wonderful. Netflix is a market with 214 million subscriptions, which means a potential of maybe one billion viewers. This means that I can do something very narrow, which Netflix still thinks is worth the money in relation to the number of views. So I would say that this development favors creativity. "
Felix Herngren began working in movies in the 1980s. Back then the entire Swedish media landscape consisted of the SVT public service network and the SF production company. Now we have Viasat, Cmore, TV4, Discovery, Netflix, HBO, Amazon, Apple and Disney - and more streaming services are about to expand globally.
Just over four billion people are connected to the internet, that's half of all humanity. This is the audience you can reach in theory. In practice, there are several obstacles to reaching everyone, a large portion of the potential audience is trapped behind the censorship walls of dictatorships, for example. In spite of this, the potential audience is in the billions. For the sake of simplicity, let's say two billion. If you reach one in a thousand of these, you have an audience of two million people.
The carpet at Portland Airport
Before the Internet, it would have cost a fortune to reach them, if it had even been possible. Thus, a multitude of interests lacked a market. Now super-narrow interests can find their audience, even if it's only a few thousand. Or how about 12,478 likes for the carpet at Portland Airport?
With the internet, we have also got platforms for people to find what they are looking for, such as Google, and to reach out with, like YouTube, social media and Netflix.
A Swedish TV series used to need to be something quite extraordinary to be sold to 190 countries and seen by millions of people. In fact, the most successful Swedish TV series in history prior to the internet and streaming never came even close to anything similar to what People with Anxiety currently is doing.
Netflix started as a subscription service for DVDs but has since taken several steps up the ladder. They destroyed their own business model by transitioning over to the net using purchased old TV series and films that the TV and film companies were happy to sell the rights to for a bit of extra cash.
The revenue from the subscriptions was used by Netflix to create its first own TV series, the hit House of Cards. This is not unusual, a successful American television series that is spread around the world. But as the company expanded and now has over 200 million subscribers worldwide, they can afford to produce TV series and movies for local markets. But at the same time, they are becoming available all over the world.
Korean Squid Game is the brightest shining example. Netflix's most popular TV series ever. After just one month, 142 million households in 94 countries had watched the series. Netflix added more new subscribers in the third quarter than their own forecast, which they attributed to the hit series. I do not know how many millions, or billions, someone will make on merchandise around the series, but it will probably be a lot.
The Netflix model is now being copied by the companies that once sold rights to the streaming giant, giving Netflix an edge. The result is that we are getting a larger and wider range of entertainment than ever before.
The primordial power of the Internet
This is the underlying power of the internet. Suddenly, half the world is a potential market. Human creativity gets new opportunities. Fast-forward by a few decades when hopefully everyone lives in freedom and has access to the internet. It is a future I and the Warp Institute are working to bring on sooner. But first I will look at People with Anxiety.