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Disruptive TV Finds Big Success With Nostalgic Content

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 3/03/2016 Lucinda Watrous
WATCHING TV MAN © Manuel Breva Colmeiro via Getty Images WATCHING TV MAN

Netflix knows how to hit you right in the feels -- and they're definitely onto something. Fuller House hit the streaming giant just days ago, with millions of people viewing the trailer. Less than a week after the release, a second season has already been announced.

While fans anxiously awaited the return of the Tanner family - now the Tanner-Fuller family, Netflix also announced the return of Gilmore Girls, and The Magic School Bus. They've already reverse engineered Hollywood to create great success with original series like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, but they're gunning after the nostalgia now, to capitalize on the existing viewership and help it grow to expand their audience.
Why it Works
In a world where reality TV is the new norm, taking it back to the "classics" gives us a break from 'unscripted' drama. Full House never left us, as it runs in syndication on ABC Family and Nick at Nite. Parents today grew up with it and introduced their children to it, because they know it is a wholesome, family-friendly show.
It works because it plays right to the existing fan base who loved the show, who wanted to see what D.J., Stephanie, and Kimmy were up to after all these years. It brings an entirely new audience to the show, helping to grow the brand independently of the original. Before it was even formally announced, rumors of a reboot swirled all over the web.
In the business world, customer retention is key. It takes more money to create a new customer than it does to retain an old one. That's essentially what Netflix is doing not only with Fuller House, but all the other reboots they've got in the pipeline. They're taking us back to nights on the couch with our families - and allowing us to carry on the tradition with the next generation.
Are We Seeing a New Trend?
Netflix isn't the only game in town; Hulu is also trying to get a piece of the pie. Fans were highly disappointed when Fox canceled The Mindy Project in 2015. They saw an opportunity and jumped to revive it as a Hulu series.
It's not the first time we've seen Hulu take a canceled show and run with it on their own platform. They briefly took on All My Children and One Life to Live after ABC canceled the long-running soap operas in 2011. The project ultimately failed because of legal battles between networks.
Maybe in an attempt to jump on the nostalgia bandwagon and compete with streaming services, we saw Fox bring back the X-Files this year. It premiered on January 24, 2016, drawing in more than 20 million viewers, plus another 1.1 million via Hulu and Fox Now. In its '90s prime, it peaked at around 19 million viewers.
Is TV as We Know it Dead?
You haven't had to rely on an antenna to get over-the-air channels (unless you wanted to, anyway) for years now, with no shortage of cable and satellite TV providers all over the country. But, as many people are cutting the cord in favor of streaming services, we're seeing a number of independent TV streaming services pop up to provide even more competition.
And, with the FCC recently announcing a plan to "break open the box" and allow customers to get cable without requiring them to do so with a set-top box from their provider, we could just be seeing the tip of the TV evolution iceberg.
No matter where we go from here, one thing is certain - networks and providers must up the ante in one way or another. Whether through deep discounts, additional content, or a combination of the two, they've got to fight harder for your dollars, and your eyes on the screen.
Have you cut the cord? Did the surge of '90s reboots prompt you to shift your viewing habits? I, for one, couldn't be more thrilled to see shows from my childhood making such a powerful comeback. Which ones would you love to see return to the small screen?

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