Netflix’s global footprint and its ability to allow teams to be completely autonomous can often lead to confusing strategies and teams stepping on each other’s toes. Netflix’s new efforts in blogs and news sites demonstrate this perfectly. It also puts a question mark on What’s on Netflix’s future in the space.
Netflix Queue was one of the first major editorial efforts by Netflix outside of its social channels. It launched in August 2019 and is essentially an online and print magazine that’s free to anyone that promises to delve deeper into Netflix’s own Original movies and series with exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes gossip.
The site says it’s a place “for Netflix’s global family to share the story behind the story. Join us in print and online for revelatory and intimate conversations with the directors, actors, and industry talent whose boundless creativity and ceaseless innovation yield the content you love to watch.”
With it having now been up and running for over two years, we don’t quite know how successful its been in achieving that mission thus far. Unfortunetely, we’re no longer able to track Netflix Queue’s traffic via SimilarWeb because it’s too low to register on their systems. When it was last available, it was tracking around 20,000 hits a month.
Netflix Tudum was announced and launched on December 9th, 2021. It sells itself as “a backstage pass that lets you dig deeper into the Netflix films, series, and stars you love! It’s still early days but you can expect exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes videos, bonus features, and more.”
Tudum as you may know was the name used for Netflix’s big “global fan event” which took place in September. This is separate from that and it’s unclear whether they’ll reuse the Tudum name for any future event.
Although one is pitched as a more fan-focused website and one more for industry professions, the reality is they overlap.
Tudum, does however feature some nice integrations with Netflix itself. It recognizes what you’ve watched to make suggestions and re-engineer its stories based on your interests. It should also be noted that Netflix has hired an impressive team for the project too. It includes former talent from the likes of Buzzfeed, EW, Business Insider, ScreenCrush, IGN as well as New York Times, Allure, and Nylon.
It’s not without issues, however. Its preview of the month’s new additions doesn’t take into account where you live meaning the post is wholly US-centric and doesn’t label it as such. As you may know, each region of Netflix has different content slates particularly when it comes to licensed movies and shows.
Netflix’s blogging efforts doesn’t end with these two sites, however. They also publish blog-type news via their Media Center (this article on The Witcher filming locations being a good example) and NetflixPause, a Substack blog that operates out of Australia.
At the moment, all of these new editorial sites and efforts (in addition to their expansive social media brands each with varying successes) demonstrate that efforts currently in this space are fragmented, conflicting, and confusing. That’s not to say it’ll be like that forever but rather points towards the global nature of Netflix’s business and how big and independent each of their teams are.
Beyond those solvable problems, some have noted potential editorial issues when it comes to integrity. With Netflix running its own news sites about its own self how can the journalists be independent rather than PR mouthpieces. It also points to larger problems faced by journalists in entertainment (and perhaps to journalism as a whole too).
This was hinted at (albeit with plenty of tongue in cheek) by Brendan Brady who asked where the cancelation coverage was for Cowboy Bebop which happened the day after Tudum launched.
So will Tudum cover the Cowboy Bebop cancellation? https://t.co/oVhXjhR4iO
— Brendan Brady (@bradybrendan1) December 10, 2021
Going back to the sites being very much similar we can point towards a recent instance of the two big Netflix blogs competing against one another by both recently having “exclusive” interviews with Jeymes Samuel (the director of The Harder They Fall). Netflix Queue published their interview in November while Netflix Tudum published their interview on December 13th.
A day after the Tudum interview was posted, Netflix Queue’s social channels re-promoted its own interview again. Is this coincidence or does it suggest that the teams are competing internally?
"It’s a really seamless thing – the story, the script, the songs, and the characters – it turns into one big opera."
— Queue (@netflixqueue) December 14, 2021
Of course, you could argue Netflix has competing sub-brands on YouTube with its UK-based channel Still Watching Netflix and its US-based operation Netflix Film Club. Both publish very similar content with editorials, behind-the-scenes and clips from various shows and movies.
So what’s the solution? A unified approach where Netflix Queue (and other outlets) is ultimately absorbed into Tudum seems to be the most logical solution but many may continue to ask whether Netflix should be in this space altogether.
How do competitors compete in the blog-sphere?
Netflix isn’t alone with its growing and fragmented blog footprint. Disney too has had multiple efforts in the blogging-sphere throughout the years.
Disney notably ran Oh My Disney, a site that had news, quotes, quizzes, and videos (very much in a similar vein to Netflix’s Tudum). That site, however, was discontinued on September 23rd, 2020. They note in their final post that they’ll continue posting news on Disney.com but as far as we could tell, that’s not really come to pass.
Disney also operates D23 which serves as the “official fan club” where they offer exclusive news and membership options that grant you benefits. According to SimilarWeb, that site brings in between 600,000 and 1 million hits a month.
Warner Media largely communicates via social media and its Warner Media blog.
The most interesting companies in this space are ViacomCBS and NBCUniversal. The former owns and operates sites like PopCulture.com and ComicBook.com which have coverage that goes beyond their parent companies own shows. The latter runs Syfy Wire. In these cases, they at least appear from the outside that they’re wholly independent. They often do note where their parent companies have conflicting interests, however.
What this means for What’s on Netflix
As a Netflix fansite that operates wholly independently from the aforementioned websites we’re left wondering where we stand once the dust settles and Netflix’s blogging efforts are running at full force.
If we look at Disney, there are numerous sites that are run by fans (What’s on Disney Plus, The Disinsider and Inside The Magic to name but a few) and in many instances, are supported by Disney when they’ve largely left the space.
With Netflix now essentially competing against us and other Netflix fansites, it’s hard to see the wood through the trees as to where we stand.
Jacob Oller from Paste Magazine perhaps summarized the impact and uphill battle sites like ours now face best by saying:
If I was, say, someone who maintained wikis or fan sites about Netflix programming or someone whose interviews/commentary about said shows will now be competing with approved and highly marketed in-house articles…well, I wouldn't be happy about this site
— Jacob Oller (@JacobOller) December 9, 2021
We don’t know what the future looks like for What’s on Netflix. We’re still just a small team but we think we make a big impact. We’re coming off of two-year traffic highs having served up half a billion page views since our inception with now well over 200,000 users a day. Will that continue? We’ll have to wait and see.
What do you think about Netflix’s moves into the blogging space? Let us know in the comments down below.