Networks May Be Preparing To Wean Themselves Off “Pure Heroin” Of Netflix Money

netflixtvFor years, Netflix has been showering networks and TV production studios with gobs of cash to run their shows online. Not even two years ago, one executive said the money was so good that it was like “pure heroin” for content producers. But the best drugs often have the worst side effects, and now some TV folks are reportedly looking to break their addiction to Netflix.

While Netflix money is still good money, some have questioned if the networks are giving up too much in the long run by handing their old episodes off to the streaming service.

On the one hand, Netflix helped newcomers catch up to heavily serialized shows like Breaking Bad, Lost, and Mad Men, leading to a snowball effect each time a new season aired.

But what’s the point of AMC running a Breaking Bad or Mad Men marathon when those shows can be binge-watched on Netflix, on just about any device, without commercials or setting your DVR.

Additionally, those shows don’t even include any branding for the network, meaning anyone coming to Mad Men for the first time may not associate it with AMC.

Contrast that to how things are run on Hulu — a joint venture of ABC, CBS, and FOX — where library episodes of currently running shows will include pre-roll information about where to watch new shows.

As re/code notes, everyone from Fox CEO James Murdoch, to Time Warner (not Time Warner Cable) CEO Jeff Bewkes, to Discovery’s David Zaslav have indicated their position that networks and studios got high on Netflix revenue while Netflix reaped the benefits in new users and brand awareness.

That’s why some analysts are predicting that the networks will soon be going through withdrawal pains as they cut back on the content they sell to Netflix.

Of course, Netflix has seen this coming for quite some time — along with increased competition from Hulu and Amazon Prime — which is one of the reasons that it has invested so much money in original content and slapping the Netflix name on imported TV shows.

The networks may not be successful in cutting back fully on their Netflix fix. After all, many TV shows are not produced — or only co-produced — by the networks that air them, meaning they will have to convince the studios behind these shows that there is merit in just saying no to Netflix.

Can the TV Guys Put the Netflix Genie Back in the Bottle? [re/code]

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