Have you sat down, opened up your Netflix app, and had some content overload? Well, I bet you are not alone. Every week, there’s an endless stream of shows and movies at your disposal. For every Bridgerton and Stranger Things, it’s doubled by the amount of true-crime documentaries and dating shows. While the mega-streaming platform has had some financial woes lately, which led to the shuttering of its editorial vertical, Tudum, and many talented journalists losing jobs, there are many issues. There are only a finite number of people in the world, for starters, so constant subscriber growth will not happen. Password sharing? Probably. The rising inflation costs paired with Netflix raising its subscription prices to cover the copious amounts of money in original programming can also incur some blame.
But do you remember getting into a Netflix show, and it is suddenly gone? You get into it, and the season ends on a story cliffhanger, only to never be rectified. For me, that show was I Am Not Okay with This, a show based on a graphic novel by Charles Forsman about a 17-year-old girl who has telekinetic powers. I won’t spoil the last episode of the chance someone wants to watch the show (you should), but Sophia Lillis’s character, Sydney, had an excellent story arc set up for season two. Unfortunately, the series was canned by Netflix after scripts were written and production was set to start.
Netflix has canceled 71 series, including the live-action version of Cowboy Bebop. All of that IP is just sitting around in a digital dust bowl. It’s not like these shows can get shopped elsewhere immediately, either. If you remember One Day At A Time, the show had difficulty because Netflix is reported to have a clause in contracts that prevents the shows from airing elsewhere for about two or three years. Unless it’s exceptionally beloved, that’s almost a lifetime for a show to be out of sight and mind. Think of all the showrunners, writers, actors, and crew those decisions keep in limbo and consider that Netflix spent $17 billion on original content in 2021.
It’s a two-pronged issue even Netflix’s storied algorithm can’t seem to figure out. Consumers have an endless selection tailored to what they like, but not enough good stuff to keep them there. If you keep green lighting shows only to pull them, where is the incentive for someone to get invested in your platform? Netflix’s measurements of viewership are constantly evolving. Still, if the advertising isn’t there and the non-committal approach to growing these creative properties continues, these problems are only the beginning.
With the easing of pandemic measures, you better give consumers something to latch on to. Streaming services such as Disney+, Apple TV, Hulu, Paramount+, and HBO Max have caught up to the streaming champion—even surpassing it. Netflix needs to shift its focus to keeping people. Maybe it comes in the form of releasing shows in a weekly format. Many people would agree that pulling the rug from viewers who want to support the diverse content portfolio will eventually backfire.
Photo Credit: Netflix