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Netflix Has a Hit That's Bigger Than 'Stranger Things' (Why That Matters)

The original streamer is catching up in the race for multi-project intellectual property.

Long before multiple streaming services were an everyday part of lives across the world, Netflix  (NFLX) - Get Free Report was the king of original content. Hit shows like 2013's "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black" kept viewers subscribed for the long haul. Monthly membership fees stacked up over several seasons, dropping whole seasons immediately available for binge-watching.

Not unexpectedly, other studios and media companies caught on to the idea. Original content took over the streaming world, with hits like Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Free Report Prime Video's "The Boys" and the "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" motivating viewers to upgrade their regular Prime account to include the service's streaming channels. In 2019, Walt Disney  (DIS) - Get Free Report released its own service, bringing with it the massive universes of Marvel comics and the Star Wars franchise. Just after the world was told to stay at home thanks to the covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Warner Brothers Discovery  (WBD) - Get Free Report released HBO Max, hosting popular IPs like "Game of Thrones" and Batman.

All of these and more streaming options have made subscribers more selective about the services. With the premiere of each new must-see show or movie, Netflix's place as the streaming service became more tenuous as the platform struggled to establish an IP that could fuel multiple projects.

In 2016, Netflix struck gold with the 80s-nostalgia-fueled supernatural series “Stranger Things”. This year has been a great year for the streamer's original content growth--and the success of its newest release is a great opportunity for Netflix to grow its library.

Netflix's "Wednesday" Breaks "Stranger Things" Record

Netflix reported that the premiere of “Wednesday” broke the streamer’s record for the most-viewed English-language show in a week. Viewers spent a collective 341.23 million hours with Wednesday Addams and the misanthropic Addams Family.

Earlier in the year, the fourth season of “Stranger Things” absorbed 335 million hours of watch time. But while “Wednesday” is now outranking its 80s-themed predecessor in views, the show does share some common ground with “Stranger Things”. Both IPs have built a fictional world on a foundation of nostalgia delivered with modern sensibilities.

“Wednesday” also holds a lot of promise for future projects. The show features the production talents of Tim Burton, whose signature visual style has been fueling media and merchandise success for three decades. And of course, the Addams family has massive pop-culture staying power, starting as a New Yorker comic strip in the 1930s and moving to television in the 1960s, then film in the 1990s.

The Streamer is Making Big Changes to Stay on Top

"Wednesday" and "Stranger Things" aren't Netflix's only IPs with the potential to spawn multiple films and series. The streamer has big plans for its all-ages properties like the Power Rangers and even the Teletubbies. The recent release of author Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" series was well-received by viewers and critics in August and has a vast well of content to pull from when it comes to potential spin-offs.

2022 has also seen some functional changes for the streaming service. Netflix recently introduced the idea of an ad-supported tier, a move aimed at retaining subscribers on a budget. The company is also cracking down on password sharing, hoping to boost subscriptions by offering profile transfer options.