If you’ve ever loved a show that Netflix unceremoniously canceled, you can take comfort in knowing that it was a complete failure.
At least, that’s what Netflix wants to communicate in a frankly bizarre new interview between Bloomberg and Netflix co-CEOs Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters, in which they say a lot of weird things, but the quote that’s grabbing the most attention is related to that Canceling shows as the service is constant. Here is Sarandos:
“We have never canceled a successful show. Many of these shows were well-intentioned but appealed to very small audiences with very large budgets. The key is that you need to be able to speak to a small audience on a small budget and to a large audience on a large budget. If you do this well, you can do this forever.”
This has outraged many, many Netflix subscribers, who have two main issues with what is being said here.
First, how does Netflix even measure success? Everything seems to be based on some sort of formula of watched hours and seasonal completion stacked against budget. But is there an explanation for building loyal fan bases? Set Important IP? check grades? Not Do you stock your library with dozens of dead-end series? That being said, it’s easy to think of a lot of examples where the budget wouldn’t stretch possibly been a factor. How expensive was a show like Teenage Bounty Hunters? I do not agree? The babysitters club? It’s hard to swallow what he’s saying here.
The second criticism is that if a show “failed” on Netflix, how much of that is Netflix’s direct fault? A common pain point among viewers who watch their favorite shows die is that Netflix has refused to give them any significant publicity, so of course they withered on the vine. It’s the embodiment of that now-famous Barry episode, where a showrunner gets a series that hits the front page with sky-high ratings scores, but is replaced within minutes by something else and eventually canceled for not ticking the right metric boxes.
This entire interview is full of startling quotes that portray Sarandos and his co-CEO Greg Peters as unrelated.
Peter: “We’re just starting to make Squid Game not an unusual thing, but basically something that happens literally every week.”
Sarandos: “This meme of, I can’t find anything on Netflix… I mean, hundreds and hundreds of stars that didn’t have a career before Netflix because they were found on Netflix.”
Sarandos: “We are equal parts HBO, AMC, FX, the Food Network, HGTV and Comedy Central. Lifespan. You used to have to sift through 500 cable channels to find them all, and now they’ll be on Netflix. The measure of quality is if you love a dating show, make it as good as The Ultimatum, make it as good as Love is Blind. There is no difference in prestige quality in any of these genres as long as they are executed well.”
Sarandos: “Can you build a big business without [intellectual property] and without a library? We just did it.”
I have faith in your business, but man these guys come off so bad and are so deaf to real, big problems Netflix is facing. I do not get it. But I suppose we’ll see what this new era brings.
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