Netflix’s cycles of promotion on social media: The ephemeral life of non-US serialized fiction


Netflix has become one of the most important intermediaries of audiovisual transnational flows due to its presence in most TV markets worldwide. Its catalogs, still marked by States boundaries, are an important source of access to a large number of audiovisual contents. However, the mediation of Netflix is not only limited to the decision to acquire the licenses. Aspects such as the algorithms to individualize suggestions to individual tastes, the service interface and the promotion of certain titles, mainly through social networks, largely determine what users watch on the platform.

Social networks are used as platforms to interact with users and promote certain catalog titles. Posts give visibility to titles mentioned and are key to direct users to watch the products that the company wants to highlight. This research focuses on the study of the promotion of the different serialized fiction titles on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, delving into their promotion cycles in relation to the launch of each new season.

The official Netflix profiles in Spain, the United Kingdom and the Nordic countries have been analyzed from September 2018 until August 2019 with a total sample of 6,055 posts. Quantitative and qualitative content analysis has been used including variables related to the genres, the release dates, the origin and the type of production of the series in relation to Netflix (original or acquired).

The preliminary results show that while the major US titles of the catalogs, all Netflix originals, are constantly promoted, regardless of their season launch dates, most titles are only mentioned the days before their releases. This highlights the ephemerid role of most titles for the SVoD service. However, each market analyzed does an exception with the main local title of the country or region. These titles have more presence throughout the year highlighting the importance of the localization of catalogs by Netflix.