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Why 'The Suits' Spin-Off Tells Us More About Netflix’s Dominance Than The Show Itself

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When it was announced that Suits, a USA Network show that aired from 2011-2019 was getting a spin off, it was somewhat of an odd bird. Generally spin-offs happen directly after a major hit franchise or maybe 20 years later as a nostaligia position. When Suits wrapped up its respectable nine season run on USA Network back in 2019, we assumed it would fade into the TV graveyard like so many shows before it. But then the magic of Netflix intervened. After the legal drama hit the streaming service in 2023, its viewership absolutely exploded - with record-shattering numbers, according to Nielsen.

So NBC orders a spin-off pilot called "Suits: LA". Seems straight-forward enough given the explosion of viewership. However this explosion didn't happen on Peacock, the NBC streaming arm. It happened on Netflix, which was just licensing this content to its viewers.

Netflix Dominates

In 2022, Netflix faced a challenging situation, losing 1 million subscribers per quarter and witnessing a 75% decline in its market capitalization, marking it as the worst-performing stock in the SP 500. Fast forward a year, and Wall Street is now enthusiastic about its impressive results, contrasting with the struggles of other players in the industry.

Yet, Netflix has a history of making comebacks. From its early days of mailing DVDs to becoming an internet platform and eventually evolving into a Hollywood giant, the company has consistently defied expectations. Reflect on this: a DVD-by-mail service transformed into a major player mentioned in the same breath as Apple, Amazon, and Google. Despite the challenges discussed extensively in the entertainment industry this year, Netflix has dethroned Disney, Discovery, and Paramount in content dominance and now boasts a market capitalization equal to the combined total of these three competitors.

Fast forward to today and Netlfix recenlty announced there was a significant surge in new sign-ups during the fourth quarter. The company exceeded expectations by adding over 13 million subscribers, surpassing Wall Street's projection of 8.7 million.

In the United States, Netflix saw an increase of 1.2 million paid subscribers during the fourth quarter. However, the most robust growth in subscribers occurred internationally, particularly in Europe and Asia.

In total, Netflix has now reached a record-breaking number of subscribers, boasting 260.3 million users.

Spin-Off Catalyst

Netflix catalyzed the Suits spin-off by recognizing the show’s popularity and Jessica Pearson’s potential. Fueled by algorithms serving up personalized recommendations, Twitter trends and viral memes about fan fave characters, Suits found a whole new audience... on Netflix. And that new generation of streaming fans seem to be hungry for more Pearson Specter Litt shenanigans. Backed by Netflix’s funding and distribution, Pearson allowed the creators more flexibility to explore Jessica's backstory and Chicago politics.

Netflix Controls The Narrative

Netflix has totally shaken things up in the TV world. This monster streaming service has overturned the usual way shows are made, distributed, and watched. With over 200 million subscribers globally, Netflix has tons of viewer data to make its platform even better.

Netflix has also made substantial investments in diversifying its content by focusing on international productions. The company is reallocating funds away from Hollywood, channeling increased resources into local-language projects. Over the past two years, Netflix's expenditure in Asia has surged to $2 billion, while European investments have doubled. More than half of Netflix's scripted titles are now produced overseas, a notable contrast to Warner Bros. Discovery (one-third) and Paramount (one-quarter). This strategic move has shielded the platform from disruptions in the supply chain, mitigating the impact of content shortages. For instance, during a period of strikes by American actors and writers that led to a 25% decline in TV series orders, the continued operation of foreign production facilities ensured a consistent output.

While all the other streaming services cut back, throw in advertising, consolidate and try to find porfitability, Netflix keep steam rolling.

Netflix has disrupted broadcasting and advertising big time, fundamentally changing how we consume and find the tube shows we love. With their uncanny ability to resurrect shows long after traditional networks have tossed them and this seemingly unstoppable cycle, Netflix has undoubtedly cemented its dominance over the streaming - and TV - landscape. The Suits spin-off is just further proof that Netflix is THE crowd-pleasing content machine to beat.
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