Why Streamers Prefer a Hit TV Series to a Hit Movie

Diane Haithman
·1-min read

Netflix this week announced a new star-studded slate of feature filns for 2021, including at least 70 titles as part of its plan to draw in subscribers with at least one movie every week. While this bold move suggests a strategic decision to lure and keep subscribers, some entertainment industry watchers suggest that a hit TV series — more so than a movie — may bring a streaming service more bang for its buck. “It’s the amount of time that eyeballs are on a movie vs. a television series,” said Vanessa Roman, an entertainment partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. “In the streamers’ eyes, all that matters is (what) turns into eyeballs.” David Offenberg, an associate professor of finance at Loyola Marymount University with an expertise in entertainment, said that a series allows a producer to amortize the cost of sets, costumes and props over multiple hours of screen time. The same goes for hiring the bankers, lawyers and deal-makers. Spreading out the costs over a number of episodes rather than just building it into one film makes sense. “Streamers hate movies,” he said. “The reason that series have so much value to a streamer is that they...

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