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Netflix to make documentaries and stand-up specials as part of Originals expansion

tv-loading netflixBrimming with confidence after becoming the first company ever to receive an Emmy nomination for an online-only show (14 nominations for three shows, to be precise), Netflix announced Monday it would be expanding its range of original output in an effort to appeal to a wider audience and further grow its user base. The news came as the company released financial results for the second quarter that showed a healthy profit despite fewer than expected customer sign-ups.

In a note [pdf] to investors, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells said it intended to widen its Originals initiative “to include broadly appealing feature documentaries and stand-up comedy specials,” adding, “Netflix has become a big destination for fans of these much loved and often under-distributed genres.”

The pair said it would continue to build on its initial success with original programming “as we gain confidence in our ability to use our judgment and data to find projects that our members will enjoy.”

New genres

Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos suggested in May that the Internet streaming company was looking to expand its original programming into new genres.

“People’s tastes are wildly diverse, and I want to be able to appeal to all of those tastes and across demos,” Sarandos said, adding, “I think we can support a lot of specific tastes.”

Last week Netflix demonstrated that its move into original programming had been a risk worth taking when it picked up nine Emmy nominations for its House of Cards political drama and three for comedy Arrested Development. Horror thriller Hemlock Grove picked up two.

Noticeable bump

The company announced Monday it had raked in profits of $29 million for the three-month period ending June 30, and signed up 630,000 new customers in the US, slightly below Wall Street expectations of 700,000. It noted that there had been a “small but noticeable bump” in membership when it released Arrested Development on its service in May, and said that given fan reaction it hoped to produce a fifth season.

Looking ahead, Netflix will premiere Mako Mermaids – a series aimed at teen audiences – later this month, and after that will launch the Ricky Gervais series Derek, as well as season two of Lilyhammer.

The company’s first animated original from DreamWorks, Turbo: F.A.S.T.(Fast Action Stunt Team), is also lined up for launch this year.

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Trevor Mogg
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