Netflix Hopes for More Damages

The fifth and final season of Damages is now streaming on Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) , but it won't be the last that subscribers see of the show's brain trust.

The leading video streaming service has signed a deal with Sony's (NYSE: SNE  ) television production arm to get first dibs on a new show by Damages creators Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman, and Glenn Kessler. The new show -- still unnamed -- follows a family of adult siblings as secrets come to light when one of the brothers returns home. Sony will make the entire 13-episode first season initially available exclusively for Netflix streaming across the world next year. 

This is actually a pretty big deal. Damages may have never have been a ratings winner despite Glenn Close's star appeal and generally positive critical reviews. It actually had to downshift from FX to Audience Network after its third season. However, the courtroom drama is just the kind of fare that scores well on Netflix. Each of the five seasons covered a single case through the entire 10 to 13 episodes. It's a series that's perfect for Netflix's binge viewing, and it follows that the new show may have similar appeal.

Netflix naturally knows what it's doing. Unlike any other company that could have been bidding for rights to this show, Netflix has the streaming data for Damages. It knows the viewing trends. It knows whether it had a higher retention rate than its other shows. Netflix bears underestimate the power of the dot-com darling's ability to know what its more than 36 million global subscribers want to watch. 

Netflix could have had an even bigger score. The Verge is reporting that Netflix was outbid by AMC Networks (NASDAQ: AMCX  ) for Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul. This was another Sony production, and while it's poetic that the highly anticipated Breaking Bad prequel landed on the network that made the original show a legend -- AMC deserves the new show -- Netflix's reported interest is another testament to its data-sifting prowess. It knows how many people watched and continue to watch Breaking Bad, giving it a good idea of what's possible with an exclusive run of related content.

The show it is getting should still be a major draw for Netflix. The last time it relied on bickering adult siblings -- for comedy's sake via the Arrested Development revival -- it panned out pretty well.

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