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1. They’re taking risks.
If Netflix don’t make new TV programmes, that’s all right by them. They have an enormous audience already and they’re raking in the cash. Choosing to make new programmes isn’t going to lose them any of their audience; the nature of streaming means they can keep adding more and more films and shows ad infinitum, without sacrificing any viewer favourites (as a TV channel would have to do). Creating a new series can only increase their viewership. And because of that, they’re able to take a few risks.
Would Orange Is The New Black have been picked up by a mainstream network? It’s a fantastic show, but there’s no way a big TV network would go with it. Its massive ensemble cast of dozens of women – and not just women, but women who are conventionally unattractive, ethnically diverse, all shades of LGBT, mentally ill, and above all criminals – is far too risky for prime time. Regional laws would also make it a problem to show the sexual content and nudity in the series, which of course isn’t an issue for the internet. Same goes with its showing people committing crimes or breaking rules (and in some cases, getting away with it) – the BBC, for instance, has quite explicit rules about showing crime in its programmes. Taking sides with the criminal isn’t always an option.
It’s only on a platform like Netflix that a series like Orange Is The New Black could possibly be aired."