Netflix had this in mind when it launched Making a Murderer by launching the first episode concurrently on streaming website YouTube to drum up interest in the project.
Meanwhile, both Horchner and Films of Record’s Grant point to the rise of high-end television drama as a key element in the development of serialised true crime programming.
“I’m not sure there’s necessarily more demand for it [than regular true crime],” says Horchner, though this view contrasts with that of Mike Lolato, senior VP, international distribution at US-based GRB Entertainment.
“I don’t think this is [just] a trend,” he says. “There’s so much interest that I think this has become a new genre. There are so many more stories to tell.”
GRB was in Miami in January launching its own effort in the developing canon. Nelson Serrano: I’m Innocent (right) was originally created as a one-hour documentary, but the plan is to expand the story.
“We realised that like The Jinx and Making a Murderer there was more to it – there was injustice,” says Lolato. “The producers have additional footage so, when the conversation came up, it was clear it would 100% lend itself to a serialised show.”
The programme follows the case of Serrano, an Ecuadorian-born American immigrant accused, and later convicted, of murdering four people in Florida in 1997.
The case against Serrano is considered by many to be weak, and there have been questions of the legality of American authorities deporting him from Ecuador back to the US to face trial.
“In a very short period of time, this type of content has made an impact on a genre that has been popular a very long time,” says Lolato. We’ve seen it with Serial, The Jinx and then Making a Murderer. The content is the same, but presented differently and in premium slots. We have got a whole different generation watching on Netflix, people who are against injustice.”