Streaming services are relatively new, and the business model isn’t fully understood by most folks, sometimes even by those on the inside of the industry.
But the way Netflix works and operates has set them up to become a knowing or unknowing pipeline for easily produced propaganda.
Early on when Netflix first started it’s streaming service it was able to secure rights to movies and TV shows on the cheap. Most studios didn’t realize the potential of streaming. They had decades of old content sitting unused, so when Netflix approached them and offered pennies for the temporary right to stream it, they quickly jumped on board.
If you remember, this is why in the early days of Netflix they had quite a few newer movies being released all the time.
But that soon dried up as the service grew bigger and those same studios realized Netflix was getting rich off content they licensed to them for cheap. When it was time for renewal, the movie studios jacked the price up and Netflix had to adjust.
They moved to finding foreign or “b movie” style content. They also dabbled in their own productions which have grown as well. But even with that, they are almost always desperate for new content. Subscribers can burn through an entire season of a show in days, which means Netflix needs to constantly add new content to keep subscribers paying.
One way they do this is by buying almost any content that is offered to them from outside producers. It’s well known in the industry now that shows and even movies are made specifically to be sold to Netflix. The production team or producer foots the initial bill, then once completed it’s shopped to Netflix which has the reputation of buying almost anything as long as it’s competently produced and formatted.
But with the huge audience Netflix has, this has made it the perfect target for those who want to produce propaganda or activist messaging and parade it as a regular documentary.
For example, a wealthy billionaire like Bill Gates can easily front the money through a shell production company to make a flattering documentary about himself. Full of how he does so much to help the world and the poor through his philanthropy. Then once completed, it is shopped to Netflix for dirt cheap since profit isn’t the goal. Netflix acquires it and now millions of people watch what is essentially a propaganda film.
But this goes far beyond just an individual who wants to bolster their image. Any foreign or domestic interest can front such a production on almost any topic. Even with a budget of several million dollars to produce, the bang for the buck is off the charts.
Customers assume that Netflix documentaries are the “real thing” and that the site hosts controversial topics other media outlets may not. This is actually the complete opposite of reality, but the brand image remains. This makes even a few million dollars investment into making a Netflix documentary more than worth the money for almost anyone looking to push a narrative or ideology. Nothing else even comes close.
Of course, we’re not saying everything on Netflix is propaganda. Most of the companies taking advantage of this are just fly-by-night production houses who produce low quality films that are then shown on Netflix as filler. However, this is what makes it all work so well. The most successful propaganda platforms are actually 99% real and only 1% propaganda. Something Netflix has achieved almost perfectly either by chance or by design.
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