For fans of “Arrested Development,” the TV show’s fourth and final season could not come soon enough. Fans rejoiced when finally, finally, the promised reunion was announced and a new season was set for production. The cult following of the show made this reunion happen, and seven long years of hardcore lobbying from some of the most dedicated TV fans paid off.
Yes, the fans won. But the big winner here is Netflix NFLX -0.39%. It was not too long ago that the media was writing about Netflix’s demise, saying it was taking its last breaths. The price-hike debacle sunk its stock price and once fiercely loyal customers were enraged—and fleeing. But then something happened: Netflix started to listen. The company once called tone-deaf finally heard what its consumers had been saying all along and then responded. It did so by taking its consumers’, moviegoers’ and TV show fans’ demands and needs and served up exactly what they wanted: content just for them.
Content for Netflix, by Netflix, as it turns out, is king. And creating good content, as marketers are increasingly embracing, is a powerful strategy for keeping consumers and acquiring new ones.
When done right, it brings communities together, makes your brand stand out, and can be a springboard for other bigger projects.
At the same time, Netflix also might have just reinvented the wheel in television programming (if you believe David Cross, who plays Tobias Fünke on “Arrested Development”). Netflix, just as any thought leader in the marketing world, knew there was a space for original and or in-demand content in the streaming space. It brings not only original content on its platform, like “House of Cards,” but also tried-and-true content to viewers with the “Arrested Development” experiment. Hopefully, “Arrested Development” is just the beginning of reviving favorites (full disclosure: I’m going to throw “Enlightened” into the suggestion box). Because, if you build it, they will come, and they’ll probably do it often.
All of these moves certainly have subscribers and Wall Street excited. For the first quarter of the year, Netflix added 2 million U.S. subscribers. Netflix stock, meanwhile, shot up 24 percent yesterday to $216.91.
Regardless of how good the final installment is of “Arrested Development,” Netflix seized an enormous opportunity to bring customers and fans relevant content. The company saw the opening, built the hype and delivered an on-demand product. Marketers should take note, as brands are increasingly becoming their own content machines. If you listen, build, engage and promote, your consumers are likely to turn into fans—and fans are a powerful force.
Just in time for denim shorts season, “Arrested Development” premieres May 26 on Netflix.
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