Netflix Opens New Front in Battle on TV by Netting Aziz Ansari Stand-Up Special

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Netflix’s rapid transformation from an on-demand repository of old movies and TV shows into an original content powerhouse will get another boost this November thanks to Parks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari. The comedian plans to debut his next stand-up special exclusively on the streaming service, he told The New York Times.

The show, titled Buried Alive, will further cement Netflix’s place as a direct competitor to HBO, which has for decades aired comedy specials from big names like Chris Rock and Louis C.K. Ansari says the show will be available later as a $5 download, much like his 2012 special Dangerously Delicious.

Netflix’s foray into original content, which seemed like a gamble at the start of the year, is gaining momentum quickly. The high-budget political drama “House of Cards” earned nine Emmy nominations earlier this summer, while the resurrection of “Arrested Development” in May generated buzz for weeks. More recently, the dramedy “Orange Is the New Black,” about life in a women’s prison, has become a surprise critical darling.

Critical praise and endless press haven’t translated into huge subscriber growth, though, the true measure of Netflix’s success. The company added 630,000 U.S. subscribers between April and June, a number below some analysts’ sky-high expectations and Netflix’s own high-end projections.

Further diversifying the service’s original content may help attract a wider audience. In addition to stand-up, Netflix announced last month that it will also be developing feature documentaries soon. Children’s programming is also on the way, as Netflix has inked a deal with DreamWorks to get 300 hours of brand-new cartoons from the animation studio. With second seasons of “House of Cards” and “Orange” already in development too, original content on Netflix is rapidly transitioning from being an occasional event to an everyday occurrence.