Are journalists interesting? That’s the gamble Netflix is taking with its new series “Follow This” where it follows BuzzFeed journalists as they report on their stories. Coupled with Showtime’s upcoming series on the New York Times, we’ll soon be awash in scenes where people carry out visually stimulating tasks like typing, making calls and looking at computer monitors. Truly, this is a golden age.
In seriousness, this Netflix series could provide a new revenue outlet for BuzzFeed’s news operations. The large and ambitious division has until now been more of a cost center for the company. Management at BuzzFeed have been trying to figure out ways to generate revenue from it. Last year BuzzFeed began posting banner ads around their stories and started a morning ad-supported news show on Twitter.
If this show works and BuzzFeed can spin up a few others, then licensing revenue could go a long way in subsidizing news and alleviating a major problem. The company has been adept at churning out short-form video that does well on Facebook and YouTube; it will be interesting if it can make that work within the Netflix on-demand model.