The financial implications of the Coronavirus pandemic have had a massive effect on the film and television industry, and even with what appears to be a bottomless supply of cash, Netflix have shown that they’re far from immune. Indeed, despite enjoying their best year ever when it comes to original movies, the streaming service has canceled a much higher number of series than usual.
While the likes of The Big Show Show, V Wars, October Faction and more were most likely canned due to a general lack of interest from subscribers and low viewership numbers, in other cases, the company have binned titles that had a huge audience. Almost a million people signed a petition to have Anne with an E brought back, while I Am Not Okay With This and The Society were initially renewed before Netflix changed their mind, and GLOW already had one episode of season 4 filmed and in the can before the acclaimed drama was axed.
In a recent interview, co-CEO Ted Sarandos explained why the platform has been more ruthless than ever, and he’s marked it down to a shift in the television business model, which makes sense on some fronts but doesn’t hold much weight on others. Especially when you consider that the increased production costs incurred by COVID-19 safety protocols were cited in the cancellations of The Society and I Am Not Okay With This, neither of which told anything close to a complete story before being pulled from the platform.
“It seems like in this new age of television, the business model is a little different. The things that marked success prior to Netflix and OTT really had been getting to syndication, that was the goal and anything that didn’t get to 100 episodes or past the four seasons didn’t feel like a success, whereas I think many shows can be a success for being exactly what they are and you could tell that story in two seasons or one season or five seasons. I think it gets talked about so much because it’s measured against the old way of doing things.”
Despite drastically cutting back their roster of original shows, there’s still plenty of content available on Netflix that will keep their subscribers happy for the foreseeable future as they continue to assert dominance as the undisputed leaders in the increasingly heated streaming wars. And though it’s certainly frustrating that they’ve axed so many titles lately, at least 2021 is looking pretty bright when it comes to new material.