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DIRECTV Joins Netflix in the Original Series Business; Will Audiences Come?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 10, 2012 at 11:45AM

Many companies are jumping into original production to keep their customers from falling away, from Netflix to DIRECTV. But Netflix has more to offer its subscribers at this point in the way of sophisticated taste algorithms than DIRECTV, which is ordering up its first original series, suspense thriller "Rogue."
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Thandie Newton
Thandie Newton

Many companies are jumping into original production to keep their customers from falling away, from Netflix to DIRECTV. But Netflix has more to offer its subscribers at this point in the way of sophisticated taste algorithms than DIRECTV, which is ordering up its first original series, suspense thriller "Rogue," from Entertainment One and Greenroom Entertainment. And Netflix is going A-list with David Fincher's "House of Cards," starring Kevin Spacey, as well as Eli Roth's werewolf saga "Hemlock Grove."

Clearly, Roth has drunk the Netflix Koolaid; during a must-hear NPR interview, he described how he's making a thirteen-part independent movie; audiences now watch entire seasons of shows all at once, and rely on recommendation software to find things to see. DIRECTV, on the other hand, is dipping its toe in the original series waters with a relatively B-tier series, ordering ten episodes of "Rogue," starring Thandie Newton ("Crash"), which goes into production in August 2012 and is set to premiere in summer 2013 on DIRECTV’s four-year-old Audience Network, available only to DIRECTV subscribers.

The question with both Netflix and DIRECTV is how audiences will discover and find these shows if there isn't substantial marketing behind them. If they don't brand them, will they come?

This article is related to: Television, Netflix


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.