Everyone knows about relationship between Star Trek: Discovery and CBS network (All Access service inclusive). Here's first two sentences on the series' Wikipedia page:

Star Trek: Discovery is an American television series created for CBS All Access by Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman. It is the first series developed specifically for that service, and the first Star Trek series since Star Trek: Enterprise concluded in 2005.

But, I watch the TV series on Netflix (available on Netflix at least in India). Fine. Partnerships can happen. What's troubling me is this:

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In the beginning of each episode, it shows "A Netflix original series".

Why does Netflix do that? Is this even legally allowed?

  • 5
    Does "A Netflix Original Series" actually have any real meaning? It just reads to me as an original series being shown on Netflix. You could infer that they created it but I'm not sure that's the intended implication. I'm sure NF have a battery of legal opinions on it.
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 13:23
  • 32
    @Paulie_D Typically if Netflix shows this, it means it was a series they funded and it's usually a Netflix exclusive. I haven't seen it used in any other way since it's their method of showing off "hey, we made this" to their general audiences. I'm curious to know whether this is a weird glitch, a mistake, or something else, to be honest.
    – Pleiades
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 13:24
  • 4
    @Paulie_D: “It just reads to me as an original series being shown on Netflix” — as opposed to an... unoriginal series being shown on Netflix? Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 13:46
  • 9
    @Pleiades “I haven't seen it used in any other way” — I sure have. In the UK, at least The Good Place and Better Call Saul are billed on Netflix as Netflix Originals, despite being funded and produced by other organisations. Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 13:49
  • 19
    I’m going to blame this on a Discovery continuity error. Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 14:10

2 Answers 2


Netflix also uses that label for anything they have exclusive distribution rights for in your area. Other examples for my area (US) include some anime like "Little Witch Academia" and other foreign shows like the Norwegian show "Nobel".

  • 27
    @Loki: I think you’ve misinterpreted “paid for” here. As far as I know, they didn’t pay enough in licensing fees for The Good Place or Better Call Saul to cover those show’s budgets, and yet they bill them as Netflix Originals in the UK, where they have exclusive rights to them. Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 13:55
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    @Loki: If what Harabeck said is true then that means your answer is wrong if anything... If a more general rule like this fits then you don't need a special case for just this one show. It would be like if I asked you to "give me all numbers divisible by 2 and you said "all even numbers and the number 4". The latter part is unnecessary as it is already covered by the more general part.
    – Chris
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 16:06
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    cnet.com/news/… is an example of a web page supporting this explanation.
    – Chris
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 16:07
  • 4
    @Loki In both cases, Netflix is paying money for distribution rights. Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 19:24
  • 7
    Supporting answer from Anime.SE for this: What makes Little Witch Academia a Netflix original series?
    – Andrew T.
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 2:55

The reason why they say it's a Netflix original series is that Netflix has indeed retroactively paid for the production of Star Trek: Discovery, after it was produced independently by CBS, as detailed in the article by Trek Today:

According to CBS Corporation’s Les Moonves, Netflix has paid for the entire production budget of Star Trek: Discovery. Netflix will be airing the series outside of the U.S. and Canada.

“Netflix just took it off the table for the rest of the world,” said Moonves. “Basically, Star Trek is going on CBS All Access for free.”

  • 30
    “Netflix has indeed paid for the production of Star Trek: Discovery” — isn’t that more in the sense that “they’ve paid as much to license it as CBS spent on making it”, as opposed to actually putting up the production money, or having any creative ownership of the show? Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 13:51
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    @PaulD.Waite How more clear than "Netflix has paid for the entire production budget" do you want???
    – Hans Olo
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 15:23
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    @Loki paying for something does not implicitly mean they created it. Paying for the production budget could have been retroactive, after the actual creation. It could mean they were actually involved in the creation. It could mean anything in between. THAT is what's unclear. I think it's most likely that they paid retroactively, and were not involved in production; more like a publishing house than a production firm.
    – user88476
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 15:39
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    Definition of licensed: "authorize the use, performance, or release of". So CBS, the creators and copyright holders, have authorized Netflix to use (in this case, distribute) Star Trek: Discovery, for a cost equal to the production budget.
    – user88476
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 16:07
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    @Loki: I don’t think it’s unclear, but I think you’re wrong about what it means. Say you spend a million dollars building a hotel, the Loki Palace. Then Netflix says hey, we want to use your entire hotel for the next five years, just for our staff to stay in, and we’ll give you a million dollars for the privilege. Is your hotel suddenly a Netflix Original Hotel? Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 9:52

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