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Creative Content & Streaming Services: A Match Made in Heaven?

It’s official: The Fuller House is getting…fuller. It's been less than a week since Fuller House premiered on Netflix, but the streaming service confirmed today that they've renewed the show for a second season. I haven’t finished binging the first season yet (Have Mercy, no spoilers please!), but from what I can tell, there is nothing terribly groundbreaking about a sitcom sequel.

However, Fuller House is fun and shamelessly appeals to my inner 90s kid. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously – except for a few awkward Olsen Twin references – and plays up the camp and cheese like the original Full House. On the Nostalgia Richter Scale, I give it a solid 10/10. But why would Netflix jump at the opportunity to produce and distribute a second season of Fuller House just days after the first season aired? Like I said, the show isn’t terribly groundbreaking; the series currently has a 32% critic rating on RottenTomatoes.

Frankly, it’s because Netflix understands its audience and the competition. There is no way, Jose, that ABC, Full House’s original distributor, would dare risk producing a sitcom sequel. It’s simply too great a gamble for traditional media to tackle. However, Netflix offers the flexibility and opportunities that traditional media cannot afford.

And Netflix knows it.

In 1997, Netflix changed how we rented videos and has since put places like Blockbuster (RIP) out of business. Now, Netflix is changing how we produce and view original content. And everyone else has to play catch-up. Even YouTube – the Internet’s treasure trove of cat videos, fake pranks, music videos, and makeup tutorials – recently launched YouTube Red, a monthly subscription service that offers ad-free videos and exclusive content from famous YouTubers like Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg and Lilly “Superwoman” Singh.

But why does any of this matter? And what does it mean for original series like Fuller House?

It’s because Netflix understood, long before anyone else, that video streaming was and is the future. According to a 2015 study by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, on an average day, Americans age 15 and over spend 2.8 hours watching TV. However, according to estimates from Emarketer, Americans age 18 and over spend an estimated 12 hours and 4 minutes each day with major media. Video streaming sites like Netflix, and now Hulu and Amazon, understand the ease and convenience of online content, whereas traditional media like film and television is still bound by its own limitations. Rumors abound that even Apple will throw it’s hat into the original content series arena soon. And that would be a very smart move: Video streaming is easy, convenient, highly marketable, and viewers are willing to pay for it.

Streaming services exploit traditional media’s weaknesses and can deliver content that viewers want to see – even if they didn’t know they wanted it. How rude, I know, but I highly doubt fans were persistently asking for a Full House reboot. Nevertheless, once the offer was on the table, the Internet lost its collective mind. Remember that RottenTomatoes rating I talked about earlier? Critics may not have an appreciation for family-friendly cheese, but viewers do; fans gave Fuller House a 79% audience score. That’s a pretty darn good rating, and I’m sure Netflix noticed.

Furthermore, many fans see streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon as the saving grace for their favorite programs cut by traditional broadcasting. In addition to original content, series like Arrested Development and The Killing on Netflix and The Mindy Project on Hulu have been resurrected from the television graveyard. And for creators, it offers the opportunity to create content without the strings attached with traditional broadcasting.

With the apparent success of Fuller House and the excitement surrounding the Gilmore Girls reboot – paired with their award-winning original series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black – Netflix is showing no signs of slowing down.

I, for one, am shamelessly excited to see what happened in Stars Hollow, and, depending on how season one of Fuller House ends, I'll probably be just as excited for the second season. More than anything, I can't wait to see what other series streaming sites may adapt into sequels and reboots.

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