Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) is in a process to launch Marco Polo, one of the most expensive original TV series ever made. The sitcom tells about the life of the famous explorer and his interactions with Kublai Kahn. Marco Polo is set to release Dec. 12.
Why Marco Polo is important to Netflix
The online video streaming service is shelling out a whopping $90 million to produce 10 episodes, according to The New York Times. HBO’s Game of Thrones is the only other series that surpasses Marco Polo. Apart from the budget, the series is also important to Netflix’s hopes of capturing more international audiences as it expands.
Prior to Marco Polo, Netflix did not have international rights to any other shows like its own House of Cards, and that is why other streaming video companies in Germany and France streamed the show, according to The New York Times. The online video streaming company is, however, keeping high hopes with Marco Polo, as it has got the exclusive rights to stream the content overseas, which could help the company become a truly global player.
Slowing user growth
Netflix is already being aggressive on the expansion front, but subscriber growth has not been in line with expectations. The company expanded in Europe in the month of September, and in October, it posted total international subscribers of 2 million, which came in below the 2.36 million estimate. Domestic growth has also tumbled, as the company reported 975,000 subscribers in the United States, against the expectation of 1.33 million. With slow growth in the United States, Netflix needs to ramp up its International expansion efforts.
The executives and producers working on the show believe Marco Polo will reverberate with International audiences, as the series will show a heroic journey to which all cultures can relate. Media executives and analysts note that in its quest for global expansion, Netflix will have to fight the challenges posed by various domestic companies, including names such as Time Warner’s HBO. However, Netflix will be hoping that its newer and expensive series will help it get past rivals.