Netflix’s Originals Push Faces Marketing Squeeze

Netflix has mastered getting buzz for originals like “House of Cards” through public relations and word of mouth. But as its slate of Netflix-only shows grow, the company will likely have to boost marketing in the competitive U.S. market or risk wasting the estimated $450 million it is spending on originals this year.

The streaming service is tripling the number of hours of original programming on its service to 320 this year from last. But its marketing spending in the U.S. rose only 11.6 percent in the first quarter. And Netflix has said that in the second quarter it will begin to shift some of its U.S. marketing budget overseas, where it is launching in new countries.

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Still, without shifting its strategy, some of Netflix’s originals could get lost in the clutter. And the risk isn’t just to the money Netflix sinks into the originals. If subscribers aren’t aware of all the new shows—or unhappy with the ones they do hear about — they might be less tempted to stick around.

Alex Kruglov and Tom Dotan commented on this article.
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Netflix doesn’t want to irritate viewers by running promotions that air before a show starts.