Netflix’s Speculative Fictions: Financializing Platform Television argues that Netflix’s scaled expansion has hinged upon its ability not only to create, but more importantly to communicate, new forms and flows of potential value in platform capitalism, wherein capital is mobilized not only from direct revenue streams but also the new value assigned to inputs and investments of data, debt, attention, behavior, taste, time, sociality, and speculation. To interpret and critique these new communications and projections of value, Colin Jon Mark Crawford performs a discursive analysis of the platform television industry leader Netflix and its ‘investor lore’: the multi-sited narrative of value found in the company’s investor relations materials and corporate communications, such as letters to shareholders, financial earnings reports, executive interviews, press releases, and blog posts. Netflix best represents the increasingly ubiquitous nexus of culture, tech, and finance industries that is platform television. To better understand the emergent financial logics of this relatively new media industry, we must first understand the speculative narratives and discourses of value which organize it. Scholars of media studies, television studies, technology studies, and economics will find this book particularly useful.
Colin Jon Mark Crawford is a PhD student in the Film and Moving Image program at Concordia University.
Act I: What is Past is Prologue (1997–2007)
Act II: Hope Streams Eternal (2007–2011)
Act III: Networking the ‘Global’ Original (2011– )
About the Author
This must-read book on Netflix not only tells the firm's story, but analyzes how it has told it, assessing the crucial financial impacts this narrative has had. Heavily dependent on debt financing for its growth, Netflix’s stories about itself are imperative to its successes as a company – and Colin Crawford’s Netflix's Speculative Fictions is the first book to treat this part of the “Netflix story.” Narrating the growth of Netflix into what it is today, this book also offers methodological reflections on "investor lore" and the linguistic dimensions of financialization –what words do– that can be used to track other corporate narratives and "platform TV" offerings such as Disney+ and HBOMax. Netflix's Speculative Fictions is a necessary read for media industry studies, platform studies, studies of the financialization of culture, and any and all Netflix viewers who have an interest in understanding what they’re really watching when they watch Netflix.
In this incisive analysis of Netflix’s financial history as numbers, data, and performance, Colin Crawford explores the calculus of value in the era of “platform TV.” A vibrant and timely contribution to industry studies, Netflix’s Speculative Fictions reveals that narratives of brand economics written for venture capitalists and investors can indeed be every bit as compelling as our favorite binge-worthy shows.