Netflix Originals have been gaining popularity and prestige since 2013, but 2018 marked a monumental year for the streaming service. In 2013, the first big Netflix Original success, “Orange is the New Black,” aired. In 2014, Netflix snagged its first Oscar nomination with the film “The Square.”
During the first quarter of 2018, Netflix gained a total of 7.41 million subscribers. This was one million more than what Wall Street analysts expected.
With so many new viewers, Netflix began to dabble in different genres. One of the most popular titles released this past year was “Queer Eye,” the reality show where five men specialize in makeovers. Other reality shows Netflix introduced include “Nailed It!,” “Chef’s Table,” and “Salt Fat Acid Heat.”
Netflix also began to release more international projects which gained attention from many American viewers as well. Netflix released the show “Narcos” a few years ago. Not only did it gain attention from Americans, Colombians watched it as well. Ironically, Colombians thought that “Narcos” was comical with the “irritable” fake Colombian accents the actors were attempting.
With a spike in the number of shows from other countries and an increase in popularity, Netflix validated that the success of “Narcos” was not a fluke. Shows that Netflix aired were “Elite” (Spanish), “1983″ (Polish), “Meteor Garden” (Chinese), “Sacred Games” (Indian), and “The Protector” (Turkish). Each show includes English subtitles and English audio description.
2018 marked a big year for Netflix Originals under the romantic comedy genre. It started with the popular Wattpad story “The Kissing Booth.” Even with poor reviews from critics, it still drew a lot of support from social media. Following this release was the popular “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” based on a book under the same title written by Jenny Han. Not only did viewers find it entertaining, they found it commendable for adding Asian American representation through the main character, Lara Jean, who is half Korean. Other romantic comedies released were “Set It Up,” “Alex Strangelove,” and “Sierra Burgess Is a Loser.”
Not only were these movies popular, but the actors involved rose to social media fame. Joey King, the star of “The Kissing Booth,” jumped from 600,000 followers on Instagram to 4.7 million post-release. Noah Centineo, Peter Kavinsky in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” rose to social media fame as well. Netflix’s Twitter profile even read at one point, “This is now a Peter Kavinsky stan account.”
This past year, Netflix has changed how they release their Oscar hopeful films. In order to appease potential Oscar voters, titles such as “Roma,” “Bird Box,” and “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” spent one to three weeks on the big screen before they debuted on the service. Typically, movies begin streaming the same day they appear in theaters. This new strategy appeared to pay off since Netflix grabbed its first best picture Oscar nomination with Roma.
Other streaming sites were hoping for a decline in Netflix popularity last year, but Netflix rose to the occasion and slammed their competition. It remains to be seen if Netflix will in fact thrive again this year, or start a slow decline.