Netflix is on F***ing Fire

James McNab
The Startup
Published in
3 min readJan 3, 2016


The traditional TV Industry should be in panic mode. Maybe it’s not a big deal that Netflix has an estimated 69 million subscribers worldwide and counting. Maybe it’s even a small thing that netflixers watch 100 million hours of video on the service every day.

“Yea, but they don’t own enough premium ‘charge distributors up the wazoo’ award worthy content. Big TV has them by the throat!”

Guess what? Netflix now produces 3 of the top 5 rated video series according to Rotten Tomatoes:

Oh and guess who owns the other two? Just lil’ ol’ Amazon. You don’t want to get me started on Amazon.

At one point the prevailing narrative was that Netflix would be limited by the tough deals that Hollywood and the big TV networks would use to maintain their stranglehold on premium content. Then Netflix announced it would produce original shows and The New Yorker asked, Is Netflix Doomed? Doomed I tell you! Doomed!

Now the joke is on the TV industry:

“Producing original content that audiences will love is soooooooo tough!”

“How tough is it James?”

“It’s so tough Netflix has produced a new show every year that’s rated 85% or higher by audiences! Every year! That’s a higher rating than shows like ‘How I met your mother’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’ which both were rated a ‘paltry’ 81% by fans. And don’t forget all the great comedy specials they’ve produced in the past 2 years! Oh and let’s not forget their new Oscar buzz worthy films like Beasts of No Nation with up n’ coming director Cary Fukunaga.”

Sorry there was no ‘ha ha’ joke there. Unless you think Netflix feeding Big TV an ample serving of data driven humble pie is funny. Did Big TV ever really know or even care what audiences wanted?

The real billion dollar question is, how long can the traditional TV industry survive while Netflix and Amazon et. al continue to plunder and pillage every genre of TV and film?

How many shows or films that could have been successful but were squashed by TV and film execs will now see the light of day on Netflix?

How long before the Streaming Industry completely replaces TV?

How long before “We can do it better” Apple and “We can do it cheaper” Google charge in to finish off the rest of the stragglers?

How long before our hero is cut in two by the super deluxe death ray of doom!?!? Tune in next week to find out!

P.S. Here are just a few of those other originals Netflix has produced:

House of Cards — 89%
Orange is the New Black — 87%
Marco Polo — 92% (Fun Fact: Critics rated it 24%. How’s that for incongruity?)
Marvel’s Daredevil — 96%
Narcos — 94% (Another crazy disconnect as critics only rated it 78%)
F is for Family — 90%



James McNab
The Startup

Design @ forethought. Formerly @ thistle. Side project Former lead UX Instructor @RedAcademy Toronto. OCAD Alum.