Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) may not be ready to let go of the Bluth family just yet.
"We are in conversations with them to do another," Imagine Entertainment's Brian Grazer told Bloomberg Television at the Allen & Co. conference yesterday when asked about Arrested Development on Netflix. "They are interested in doing that."
There has been no response out of Netflix, but the news has pushed the stock today to yet another 52-week high.
The fourth season of the cult favorite was greeted with mixed reviews, but the media attention and show's magnetism probably helped Netflix score another monster quarter. We'll know more in less than two weeks when Netflix reports its second-quarter financials.
Analysts see profitability more than tripling on a better than 20% top-line surge.
Another season next year would be a big catch for Netflix. It would validate the streaming experience for an established star-studded show, paving the way for more of broadcast television's castoffs to treat their devoted fan bases to fresh content.
Anyone who has streamed the entire fourth season also knows that the final episode concluded abruptly, with more than a few unanswered questions. This may have been ammo for Imagine to pull off the full-blown theatrical releases that they were envisioning, but if the market isn't there for that, clearly Netflix isn't shying away from large production budgets for original programming.
Unlike rival Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), which only bankrolled production of entire seasons of new shows after first running the pilots past its users, Netflix hasn't been afraid to cut big checks for shows sight unseen. Netflix green lighted a second season of Orange is the New Black -- the service's latest foray into first-run programming, which premiered yesterday -- weeks before the audiences weighed in.
Who has the upper hand in the relationship between Netflix and Imagine? That's debatable, but it would seem as if Netflix is Hollywood's new power broker. Amazon's Jeff Bezos isn't afraid to take big hits in the near term as he pursues long-term gains, but there's no way that he would outbid Netflix if a fifth season of Arrested Development was on the block.
Armed with more than 36-million global subscribers -- a figure that will surely go up substantially when Netflix reports later this month -- no platform offers a studio access to such a large tech-savvy audience.
At the end of the day, no one can be smarter than Netflix when it comes to deciding which shows to renew. It has all of the data on how many people are watching, and if they're sticking around as subscribers. This knowledge has forced Netflix into not renewing some licensing deals that proved controversial, but it's the only one that knows the real value of every single show in its digital vault.
There's always money in the Netflix banana stand.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com and Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.