Streaming Things
July 17, 2019 8:38 PM   Subscribe

Netflix actually lost subscribers (Vulture) in the US this quarter; this hasn't happened since the DVD days of 2011. Maybe it's due to 2019's higher prices (Variety). Global subscriptions continue to grow, however, and most watchers are already outside the US: the next 100 million subscribers might come from India (hindustan times), and today the company announced a cheaper mobile plan there (NYT).

Meanwhile, in the next year or two Netflix will lose its most popular licensed content, such as The Office and Friends, as Disney, Universal, and Warner Bros. plan to launch their own streaming services (WSJ, with very informative charts).

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posted by sylvanshine (76 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm enjoying Netflix still, and Amazon and some of the UK programming add-ons we got through them are worthwhile, but we still get DISH and DISH still doesn't have HBO and we're talking about cancelling our standalone sub there because we're both sort of swearing off 70 episodes over 10 years series after GoT went away. The shows I'm addicted to on HBO are Real Time and Last Week Tonight and both of those can be found through alternate methods if you're there at the right time.

So, yeah, I'll look at HBO for another 6 months, and they might be the one to get the axe.
posted by hippybear at 8:48 PM on July 17


Netflix is a laundry.
posted by The Whelk at 9:16 PM on July 17


We've apparently freed ourselves from cable service bundles to end up on the road to streaming service bundles, once the streaming market fragments too much and all these streaming services realize they can't survive on their own.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:19 PM on July 17 [27 favorites]


i hop on and off netflix and hbo now depending on their offerings. disney+ will probably be an ongoing subscription. i don't anticipate netflix having much appeal now that the marvel series have been axed. amazon prime won't get renewed again. apple's offering, whatever the fuck it's called, will probably be an occasional subscribe.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:31 PM on July 17


I unsubscribed from Netflix when the price increase was announced, and had a feeling I might not be the only one. The price is still fairly low, but it just felt like too much, for some reason.

My use of YouTube has gone way up simultaneously; I was probably late to the party on that but I’m so enjoying watching videos put out by motivated people on subjects they (and I) are passionate about.

My use of educational services (Coursera, MasterClass, Yousician, etc) has also gone way up since I lost interest in Netflix. I read a theory that active participation in entertainment doesn’t bring about negative emotional states in the same way that passive consumption of TV shows does.
posted by mantecol at 9:33 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


eventually there will be so many streaming services that they'll start bundling together and effectively recreate cable TV
posted by The Whelk at 9:40 PM on July 17 [33 favorites]


We pick up and drop HBO intermittently, their marquee shows are great but that’s not enough to keep me full time. Netflix and Amazon we have kept; I’ll reevaluate if the offerings deteriorate but for now it is ok.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:47 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


In a recent Askme, user attentionplease posted an excellent link in regards to Netflix and their business model that I think is germane here and deserves some notice on the Blue - The Slow Death of Hollywood.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:48 PM on July 17 [30 favorites]


That article is terrific.
[Netflix] now routinely ends shows after their second season, even when they’re still popular. Netflix has learned that the first two seasons of a show are key to bringing in subscribers—but the third and later seasons don’t do much to retain or win new subscribers.

So the company is trying to get new subscribers, and wants to keep old subscribers just happy enough to not quit the service. And there’s this other tidbit:

Ending a show after the second season saves money, because showrunners who oversee production tend to negotiate a boost in pay after two years.
And they're now running into "hey I used to watch this show on Netflix but it's gone now, so... I guess I'll unsub for a few months and subscribe to this other service for a while." And for people who are tired of trying to figure out which service is hosting what they want to watch, the torrents are still around.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:18 PM on July 17 [27 favorites]


The Disney streaming service will be the new Destroying Angel, mark my words. All will fall before it. Everything is proceeding according to their design.
posted by aramaic at 10:30 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


On paper, Disney's offerings look unstoppable, and one of the existing services will likely crumble under its onslaught.

However, there is also an assumption that Disney won't fuck it up. Considering the history of some of their previous offerings (just what is the Go thing that they saddled ABC with, for example), it might also crash spectacularly.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:42 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


I will pay top dollar for any service that provides a simple alphabetical-by-title list of what's available to stream *right now*. Scrolling through 'categories' and bullshit 'suggestions' sux balls.
posted by j_curiouser at 10:51 PM on July 17 [80 favorites]


If they keep canceling critically acclaimed shows like The Santa Clarita Diet for no apparent reason then I don't think they are going to succeed. They can hide their ratings all they want, but no one is going to want to bring a show to them if they know that no matter how well they are received they are also going to get cancelled after three seasons. See also--One Day at a Time.
posted by Quonab at 11:09 PM on July 17 [22 favorites]


the torrents are still around.

I'm pretty sure torrenting/etc is more popular than ever because the entire process of acquiring media files has been automated.

You set up a Plex server to stream and then there are.... open source 'companion' programs for tv/movies/whatever that handle all the searching and downloading of your shows. No more searching sketchy websites every time a new episode comes out.

So while yall trying to figure out what service contains the season of whatever it is you're trying to watch, Imma go pop some popcorn using the heat from my storage array.
posted by bradbane at 11:11 PM on July 17 [22 favorites]


I live in a foreign market, so there's four viable streaming services: Netflix, one that's inexplicably called Stan., and two completely free and surprisingly complete offerings from the government-owned stations, that they started work on ten years ago in anticipation of the moment where streaming was big.

I dropped my Netflix subscription when they lost the rights to a bunch of BBC programs I was intending to watch. They went over to Stan., which also has rights to Showtime and all the Disney stuff until Disney launch their failure. I'm dearly hoping we're too small a market to compete over, and they all just give up and license to either Netflix or Stan. so that we have an effective duopoly, each of which has a relatively comprehensive library. (Well, okay, Stan will have a relatively comprehensive library. Netflix's has started poor and gotten worse.)
posted by Merus at 11:21 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Yeah we pay for two services and, like, probably 95% of the usage is by my partner, who is much more the type to just put something mindless on while she does something else. From my end I look at it more as at least I'm throwing some money into the wider creative pot. Essentially just managing my guilt.

And then I torrent away. I work full time and have a newborn and don't have any room for the soap opera that will be the streaming wars over the next 3-5 years. Once the dust settles I'll re-evaluate my options.
posted by mannequito at 11:35 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I want a standalone Turner Classic Movies stream. If it included on-demand movies that would also be cool, but in this household we rely on the TCM channel to just play stuff at us that maybe we weren't seeking out but yeah, that's cool to see and oh yeah that again and wow, that's unexpected and really? that again?

It's basically wallpaper here, it's the only wallpaper we really like, give it to use for $15/month and we'll get that. We promise.
posted by hippybear at 11:43 PM on July 17 [10 favorites]


I periodically subscribe to HBO via Prime. I paid for Showtime when Twin Peaks was released.

Then I canceled. It’s great.

Netflix will also keep your settings for 12 months I think. Maybe 11? So I periodically unsubscribe and then go back later if I feel like i need some tv time.
posted by sio42 at 11:56 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


I cancelled Netflix 15 months ago after 5 1/2 years and $578.

I've switched entirely to building my library through iTunes purchases and DVDs (ripped into iTunes). I don't have to worry shows suddenly disappearing. I don't have to deal with promos and ads competing to steal my attention. I can easily load shows on to my iPad when I travel. I don't think I will ever subscribe to a streaming service again.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 11:57 PM on July 17 [7 favorites]


hippybear - while TCM does not have streaming (maybe one day!!) The Criterion Collection does.

https://www.criterionchannel.com/

Thanks for the reminder on this! I’ll have to VPN bc I’m outside the US but it’s an option for you!
posted by sio42 at 11:59 PM on July 17 [7 favorites]


Also I just tweeted at TCM to get streaming in some way that is not tied to a cable subscription. Maybe they just need to hear from more people.

I wrote to HBO ages ago that their lack of a legal way to allow me to watch GoT without paying $120 for cable I wouldn’t use actually hurt them - they don’t know the true popularity of a show if they wait for post-broadcast DVD sales.

I know I had I nothing to do with it but a few years later they had their Amazon Prime Channel.
posted by sio42 at 12:04 AM on July 18


i_have_a_computer

I’ve been considering this also. Good idea. It’s how I have the trash of space trash shows, Babylon 5 :-D
posted by sio42 at 12:06 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


The only thing keeping the Netflix subscription current in our house is the kids programming.
And honestly, once the kid ages out, we'll likely drop it.

The adult content has been worthless for a number of years, and the "throw a bunch of crap and see what sticks" approach to original programming is awful.

If Netflix wanted to keep my household's business, they'd take some of the billlions of dollars they're currently tossing down the wannabe HBO hole and buy up some programming from the rest of the world.
We watched the "Almighty Johnsons" and it was great, let's see more of that.
How about some UK panel shows or something. Hell, just buy up all of the Dave TV output, it'd surely be cheaper than spending a hundred millions dollars on a 30 year old sitcom.
posted by madajb at 12:19 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


Reminder that your library probably gives you a subscription to Kanopy or Hoopla. Kanopy especially is really good.

There are a few Netflix shows I've really enjoyed, even recently (personally have found The OA, Dark, and Stranger Things to be fun and interesting enough to spend time with) but lately it has felt like you can really see the decline in quality of offering overall.

I'm for sure not recreating cable via streaming services, I have zero interest in the way this looks like it's all going to go down.
posted by imabanana at 12:22 AM on July 18 [13 favorites]


Stranger Things is being pushed at me by people who know my tastes. I loved Sense8 (and there's that "two seasons and cancelled" thing again) and enjoyed Umbrella Academy (nice to know not to expect more than a second season). I like the Tales of Arcadia set - both Trollhunters (done, and very very unlikely to continue) and 3Below (but I expect there's not going to be more of it after the season that just released). And while they have some series I'd like to watch, they've made it very, very hard to find single movies.

Hulu may have more that I want to watch, but Hulu won't play on Opera at all; I have to switch to Chrome to watch it.

I really need to figure out how to rip DVDs and just buy those.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 12:36 AM on July 18


the torrents are still around.

For a while - when Netflix was one of only a small number of providers offering streaming content - the idea of just subscribing to maybe a couple of those services, won out over the prospect of dealing with torrents: it was easier to pay a modest fee for a huge selection of material than it was to mess around with pirated content. Also - the really big new show that everybody was talking about would probably be appearing on one of the sources you subscribed to - either now or soon.

As the number of streaming platforms increases, each individual option will offer a smaller slice of the overall content cake - and hence the amount anybody wishing to get the same number of shows they saw before needs to pay out per month, will rise dramatically. Customers face the following options:

1. Subscribe to several new services, find the money to pay up for them, find the time to learn how to browse each one for content. This does not sound appealing frankly.
2. Stay subscribed to only a few services and miss out on an increasing amount of content. That is not appealing either: you are paying the same amount for less and less.
3. Subscribe to a rotating selection of services - different ones quarter say: mine the subscribed services for their appealing content then move on. This is not such a bad option - but it also has a substantial management overhead. Who is going to bother with that?
4. Pirate content to make up for those shows not offered on subscribed services

Option #4 is going to get more and more appealing for many. To prevent that behaviour prevailing, the service providers are going to have to come up with a way of allowing subscribers to easily buy content from each other's
libraries for a modest add on fee: the operating model needs to go back to the way it was in the DVD rental days of Netflix or Amazon: you look for the title you want and they will send it to you. Because Amazon are already established as a retailer of content as well as a streaming service provider (and because they already allow you to purchase content from some other providers) they are going to be in a good position.
posted by rongorongo at 12:52 AM on July 18 [7 favorites]


"The Disney streaming service will be the new Destroying Angel, mark my words. All will fall before it. Everything is proceeding according to their design."

I feel like I'm just begging the universe to prove me an idiot, but I am skeptical that Disney Plus will be the behemoth that many people expect or that, in consequence, Netflix's days are numbered. I do feel confident that Netflix's valuation is due a large downward adjustment, but that's not at all the same thing as insisting they're going to lose much market share to Disney and other streaming services.

I think Disney Plus will underperform relative to current expectations and Disney's overall success in the last decade. I think that Netflix would have been vulnerable had their strategy relied exclusively upon their total domination of North America, but that the success of their global strategy will prove to be the deciding factor of longer-term viability in a way Disney will not be able to duplicate.

It may even prove to be the case that the very high licensing fees they have been paying for the most popular original content produced elsewhere have not actually been justified -- sure, people watch Friends on Netflix because they can, but I think we've moved past the time when access to those marquee shows was the primary driver of Netflix subscriptions.

This is the kind of question the coming streaming shake-out will answer, some things that presently have not been easily or reliably measured. In contrast, Netflix knows more about what and how and when their audience consume film and television content at very large scale than anyone else knows or has ever known and I think that people are underestimating the advantage this gives them.

"I really need to figure out how to rip DVDs and just buy those."

To me this sounds very antiquated, unless by "DVD" you mean "Blu-Ray". Netflix, for example, charges a higher rate for rental of high-definition physical media and whether rented or purchased, ripping Blu-Rays is much more problematic in numerous respects than ripping DVDs. And the physical media delivery of content for consumer purchase or rental is waning and not long for this world. Building a library from physical rental, or even purchased, media is a ship that sailed years ago.

I have a library of over 350 DVDs I purchased during the 00s and both new content and technology outpaced the utility of ripping all of them, even though I've had a digital library for almost twenty years and a Plex Media Server for, I guess, seven. Most of the 1080p content I have will shortly be outdated when I switch to 4K. If those DVDs weren't in storage, I'd have thrown them out. It pains me to calculate how much I spent on them (once upon a time, I was flush).

It's true that a PMS coupled with, say, Radarr and Sonarr and Deluge entirely automates acquiring content and building a library via torrenting, but I wouldn't recommend it to almost anyone. There are a lot of moving parts, a lot of fiddly configuration and maintenance and troubleshooting, and the legal exposure is either not worth it or, to avoid it, requires one or more additional layers of software/services that cost actual money and even then there are no guarantees. This is an alternative available to a relatively very small niche -- if that includes you, then okay. But I don't see this as mattering in the greater scheme of things.

"To prevent that behaviour prevailing, the service providers are going to have to come up with a way of allowing subscribers to easily buy content from each other's libraries for a modest add on fee: the operating model needs to go back to the way it was in the DVD rental days of Netflix or Amazon: you look for the title you want and they will send it to you."

You'd think, right? But that's not at all how the IP holders think and they are asserting themselves. They're going after public libraries, for crying out loud. What's going to happen is what people have predicted earlier in the thread: the content producers are all going to compete with each other as streaming providers and, when this doesn't prove viable for the industry as a whole, only then will they revert back to a consumer-friendly model. It will hapoen, but we're in for a difficult period first.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:26 AM on July 18 [9 favorites]


Eh, I think the $2 a month that, among other things, enables certain software to use torrents without actually torrenting, is better spent than most any of my monthly entertainment expenditures. Even MeFi costs me more than that, not that I'd call it entertainment, of late.
posted by wierdo at 1:49 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I'll fess up to pirating shows, especially those that are difficult to watch in the UK – and I don't presume to judge other people's situations either. That said, nowadays I always try to pay for streaming TV and movies because ultimately a lot of the money goes to the people who make the content.

One way I manage things is by only subscribing to Netflix in one-month chunks – by cancelling immediately after I reactivate my subscription. This makes my consumption of Netflix much more "mindful" as it makes me deliberately decide whether there's anything I want to watch before paying for it. Over the years, this strategy has saved a serious chunk of change!
posted by adrianhon at 2:11 AM on July 18


I think Disney Plus will underperform relative to current expectations and Disney's overall success in the last decade. I think that Netflix would have been vulnerable had their strategy relied exclusively upon their total domination of North America, but that the success of their global strategy will prove to be the deciding factor of longer-term viability in a way Disney will not be able to duplicate.

Many many years ago I worked with Disney on a very early idea for streaming content. The idea that they needed to change *anything* about their business model to deal with a global audience (crazy arcane country by country release contracts, etc.) would literally make them foam at the mouth. Netflix will continue to be competitive by being willing to bring their service global. I may be pleasantly surprised, but I have doubts about how committed to a global roll out plan Disney will be.
posted by frumiousb at 2:39 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


TCM does have streaming but only for cable / satellite subscribers. At least on Roku, and I would imagine they support other devices as well. I personally get it for free because a relative was kind enough to share her DirectTV login with me.

In terms of torrents, I personally like put.io. Has almost no moving parts and no complexity. Find the torrent you want, paste the link into their web or app interface. They handle the torrenting part on their servers. When it's done (usually instantly because the video was cached), you then download or stream the video. It lacks the automation of other solutions, but there's zero setup time and it's a bug-free process that only fails if the requested content isn't already cached (most of it is) and the seeders are slow or non-existent. It's perfect for an occasional, lazy watcher like me.

If Netflix wanted to keep my household's business, they'd take some of the billlions of dollars they're currently tossing down the wannabe HBO hole and buy up some programming from the rest of the world.

Netflix does. I've seen tons of shows from other countries in the listings. For certain categories, foreign shows seem like almost half their available content.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 3:23 AM on July 18 [6 favorites]


I feel like I only have Netflix so I can watch the movie Shirkers every couple of weeks. I watch other programming (I binged Stranger Things and am working my way through Pose season one), but I can’t wait for the license to run out on Shirkers so I can watch it on another platform.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:29 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I have a DVD-only Netflix plan and a Plex server. It’s kind of ideal for movies, we just maintain a large backlog of stuff we want to watch. TV shows we buy a la carte because we want to see so few.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 3:35 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I'm not really that concerned about the fees of rebuilding cable bundles because a good streaming service is still worth the cash.

I am bothered by the terrible usability scenario of the bundles. As is it is difficult to find shows across platforms. It is also difficult to find shows within platforms on their apps. Filtering out foreign language films seems unavailable (sometimes I want background tv and subtitled shows are not that). Finally the major services serve up a bucket load of absolutely appalling low quality documentaries that will make you dumber if you watch them. I'd rather not have to wade through that.
posted by srboisvert at 3:58 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Some cable companies are not smart enough to distinguish internet only vs cable subscribers. I was able to add SyFy on my Roku using my cable bill credentials. It seems that much of the Netflix content these days floats to the top as "mildly interesting." It's still cheaper than cable TV, which has nothing going for it.
posted by BobtheThief at 4:13 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I cancelled this month. No regrets.
posted by mfoight at 4:17 AM on July 18


I have a 4TB Plex server (seeded initially with hundreds of rips from my own DVD/BR collection), but I still subscribe to a number of services ... for now. All of them are failing me in some way that makes it harder to justify, though.

Hulu is hanging on literally only by the thread of The Handmaid's Tale. Season 3 isn't that great, making it even harder to put up with the truly obnoxious levels of ads they splice in on their lower tier paid level (I'm not paying for top tier for 1 show).

HBO is only around for Last Week Tonight and a couple of series I want to get around to watching (e.g. Chernobyl). The movie selection is never quite right -- I feel like it rotates just enough to be annoying that something disappears before I watch it, and yet not enough so it feels like there's never anything new. It always feels somehow ... shallow.

Netflix seems to be actively trying to make me go away. I can enjoy TV shows, but good lord have they prioritized TV shows over movies in streaming. Actually just sitting down and watching a movie is not easy, in terms of finding anything you haven't seen that's worth seeing. Add to this: I enjoy foreign films, but subtitles only work if I'm in the head space to pay close attention. Having no way to filter out the mass amounts of non-english-language films they're padding their catalog with means that finding something to watch in a more casual environment can take like 10+ minutes, which sorta defeats the purpose.

I've said it before, but I feel like streaming media has (maybe predictably?) had much of its promise destroyed by the sleeping industry giants finally waking up and realizing that they too can rent seek within it. There was a time period where it seemed like maybe we'd end up with 2-3 services that made it easy to get access to nearly anything, and consumers would be happy and creators would get paid. Instead, we're barreling towards a splintered ecosystem of dozens of services, and meanwhile we're already having to deal with the insanity produced by the outdated global licensing systems used in media, whereby completely global services like Netflix can suddenly have have or not have a thing I wanted to watch because I drove an hour north/south across a border.

Streaming's greatest promise was back when the big industry players didn't think it could actually make money, and so were willing to actually license things. Those days are gone.
posted by tocts at 5:30 AM on July 18 [9 favorites]


> It's true that a PMS coupled with, say, Radarr and Sonarr and Deluge entirely automates acquiring content and building a library via torrenting, but I wouldn't recommend it to almost anyone. There are a lot of moving parts, a lot of fiddly configuration and maintenance and troubleshooting, and the legal exposure is either not worth it or, to avoid it, requires one or more additional layers of software/services that cost actual money and even then there are no guarantees. This is an alternative available to a relatively very small niche -- if that includes you, then okay. But I don't see this as mattering in the greater scheme of things.

Plex facilitates a community co-op user model, with one or two administrators managing the server and paying server bills, buying drives, maintaining the fetch scripts, and so on, and a dozen or two users who each contribute in various ways (cash or effort) to keep it running. I know of three of these co-ops, each with a couple dozen terabytes of movies and TV shows in their libraries, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are hundreds more. So while it can be a lot of work to keep current, that work can be spread around according to everybody's abilities and interest.
posted by at by at 5:52 AM on July 18


Also I just tweeted at TCM to get streaming in some way that is not tied to a cable subscription. Maybe they just need to hear from more people.

There's an odd thing about TCM. I have the TCM app on an iPad. I also have Comcast cable. However, TCM isn't part of the tier I pay for. Yet, the TCM app still lets me watch their programming. It's not exactly the same as streaming, but you do get to watch whatever films are in their rotation for the month.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:17 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Reminder that your library probably gives you a subscription to Kanopy or Hoopla. Kanopy especially is really good.

Kanopy is increasingly putting the screws on libraries, and some, like NYPL, are dropping their accounts.
posted by zamboni at 6:18 AM on July 18 [9 favorites]


I will pay top dollar for any service that provides a simple alphabetical-by-title list of what's available to stream *right now*. Scrolling through 'categories' and bullshit 'suggestions' sux balls.

Ye gods, yes this. We piggyback on our daughter's Netflix account. We generally like it, but we find ourselves avoiding it more and more simply because 99% or our time (seemingly) is burned just scrolling through the damned thing, trying to find...anything?...that might appeal. And, because of whatever algorithms Netflix uses, you aren't always getting a full view of everything available, because (of course!) code knows best, utterly dismissing the possibility of random discovery.

Personally, I think Netflix's strong suit are their original programs and the standup comedy specials. When we started using Netflix, we were especially happy with how many women comedians they featured. It seems, though, of late, the offerings have drifted more and more toward the boys' club.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:32 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Customers face the following options

There's actually a fifth option - get yourself a cheap DVD/Blu-ray player and get the content from a local library for free or if you're lucky to still have one locally a video store.

I work in film distribution specialising in obscure media, 10 years ago we were seriously unsure if we'd be still alive in five years and here we are in 2019 & I've never been busier. Who's my clientele? Almost exclusively educational and libraries. Despite the promises of having everything available to stream at all times, increasingly the services are providing the consumer with less and less options.
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:17 AM on July 18 [14 favorites]


I was one of their cancelling U.S. subscribers. I had been a subscriber for... 15 years? Something like that. When the price went up, I realized I barely used Netflix, because 95% of their original programming is crap and they've been letting their licensed catalog dry up over the years. The movie selections in particular are abysmal these days.
posted by Automocar at 7:27 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


As per TCM, my own cobbled together solution is YouTube TV. Every day I pop in and scan their offerings for the next 24 hours and will add any to my Library that might be interesting. Then I can watch them at my leisure and delete or save them as necessary. Sort of a poor man's Criterion collection nestled into a broadcast/cable stream. Haven't turned our actual TV in years...
posted by jim in austin at 7:31 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


consolidating all the Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars stuff into one service is really nice. It's annoying that every service has one or two shows that I want to watch so I'm glad there's finally one that I know I'll never want to subscribe to.
posted by sineater at 7:33 AM on July 18 [7 favorites]


If you use T-Mobile as your cellular service, you get Netflix for free. That's one way to avoid paying for it directly.
posted by ShooBoo at 7:34 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]



eventually there will be so many streaming services that they'll start bundling together and effectively recreate cable TV


Only you'll have to pay even more because the bandwidth isn't part of the bundle.
posted by thecjm at 7:56 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


I'm constantly thinking about dropping our cable and supplementing Netflix with a couple other streaming services, but really, cable/PVR is already the better value ($45? CDN) for the amount we watch it compared to Netflix. Adding a couple more services, assuming they were even available in Canada (Think you're too good for me, PBS Passport?) would negate any savings.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:12 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Even on a website where people routinely point out that perpetual growth is impossible, nobody can resist pontificating about the significance of a regression towards the mean.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:13 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


I didn't even flinch at the Netflix price increase, though I am deeply annoyed at them canceling Santa Clarita Diet - especially on a cliffhanger. Bastards.

I've currently got Netflix, HBO, and Hulu going - Hulu has enough back catalog sitcoms and such that it's worth the monthly fee. Netflix has enough new content (Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, Ozark, Glow, Russian Doll, and Disenchantment among the best even though I'd like them to wrap up OITNB now...)

HBO also has a few shows I'm still into (The Deuce and Barry, though it looks like Deuce is done after S3), and occasionally a movie or two I'm interested in.

Fuck I watch too much TV. I ought to scrap it all and read more.
posted by jzb at 8:25 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I have a DVD-only Netflix plan and a Plex server. It’s kind of ideal for movies, we just maintain a large backlog of stuff we want to watch. TV shows we buy a la carte because we want to see so few.

A friend of mine has this and included me as an authorized viewer so I and other friends and family have a mini streaming service. I buy him a beer occasionally in payment.
posted by octothorpe at 8:27 AM on July 18


I'm another one of the Netflix DVD people and I've been quietly introduced to Plex as a backup for the stuff Netflix doesn't have. My viewing content right now is "classic movies for my blog" and will continue to be so for the next 5 years at least, and that's the DVDs.

Have taken advantage of the access to Black Mirror and Stranger Things as well, but Stranger Things is apparently only going to be around for one more season.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:47 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I don't believe that Netflix cancels shows after 2 seasons because they want to save costs. That's not how the rest of TV works, and they don't provide any actual figures to back that up. I mean if Netflix does that, then the consolidated publishing houses will just raise the original price (so Netflix will be paying more for pilots or getting worse pilots from desperate studios to maintain the same costs), so that as a policy is completely unsustainable.

The numbers I've seen (admittedly very few) show that Netflix marketable viewership numbers for their created content are very low, below that of moderately popular cable shows. They cancel for the same reasons that regular tv does, they aren't popular enough to continue to pay for.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:52 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


I mean, shows ending in two seasons is what UK TV does often, right? And I personally wouldn't mind it happening more with Netflix or even most US programming, because then it wouldn't be so daunting to get into them. At the very least you will avoid a GoT scenario where you've plunked down eight years into a show and then emerge disappointed. (I didn't watch GoT, and kind of glad I never did)
posted by FJT at 9:06 AM on July 18 [6 favorites]


I was one of their cancelling U.S. subscribers. I had been a subscriber for... 15 years? Something like that. When the price went up, I realized I barely used Netflix, because 95% of their original programming is crap and they've been letting their licensed catalog dry up over the years. The movie selections in particular are abysmal these days.

The licensed catalog didn't dry up as so much the movie studios finally realized there was real money in streaming rights so they let the original cheap deals expire and demanded more money so Netflix had to make some decisions. Part of the original programming kick that Netflix is on is so they have content that they don't need to keep paying for over and over again. And part of the current fragmentation of streaming rights is also based on each studio wanting it's own individual piece of the money pie.
posted by jmauro at 9:21 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


The value of a streaming service, to me, is how often I come across something unexpectedly delightful; an old movie I love that I haven't seen in years, a recently-released movie that I want to see (rare), or a new show that is exceptionally good. For me, these moments occur maybe once a month at most on Netflix, which is just high enough to keep me subscribing, but not high enough to keep me enthusiastic about the service. Their movie library is mostly garbage, prioritizing quantity over quality (yes, you can license twenty bad movies for the cost of one good movie, but why would you?). The original programs are really hit or miss.

On the other hand, I think services like Netflix create an environment that can support types of media that otherwise would not exist. Two of my favorite shows over the past year, Maniac and Russian Doll, are too weird for any platform other than Netflix or HBO. Ten years ago there were no platforms that would have supported them. The fact that Netflix's original programming is all over the map in terms of quality and content tells me they're willing to experiment, which is actually pretty great. It means they're not just going with safe bets.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:26 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


I have Netflix on several devices, and the user interface on every single one feels like it's working against me to enable me to continue watching things, see new episodes of things I'm following, or find things even remotely similar what I've already watched.

Plus they looooooooooooove courting marginal audiences then cancelling those very same shows after a subscription bump.

Yes I'm *still salty* about them cancelling Sense8 and also One Day At A Time.
[One Day At A Time apparently has been given one final season, but it's going to be exclusive to a channel called PopTV and I don't even know how to legally watch that where I am?]

Their accessibility options are awful, they have plenty of non-English language content I actually want to watch but the subtitling and audio dubbing options are usually either awful, difficult to navigate or straight up missing entirely.

When the Disney Megacorp corrals all the recent and classic pop culture behemoths from Netflix, to springboard thier own the service, then I'm positive Netflix will haemorrhage more subscribers.

Don't forget Disney is an Entertainment Megacorp [Image link]

Some of the highlights from that linked image are:
Marvel
Marvel Studios
Everything with Disney in the title
ESPN
Pixar
Everything with Star Wars In the title
Fox Entertainment
FX
SKY TV (Excluding Sky Sports I think)
National Geographic
A HUGE chunk of Hulu
Lucasfilm
Everything associated with Henson Studios, so that new Dark Crystal series? Ultimately owned by Disney

They don't currently own Time-Warner Media (HBO), Hasbro, Universal, Viacom, nor Sony (although they do have interesting cross-rights/partnership with Sony for Marvel characters still whole or partiality owned by Marvel), but the sliver of the English speaking media outlets/producers that Disney don't own is getting (percentage wise) smaller and smaller every year
posted by Faintdreams at 9:41 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, we're in a golden age of pirate streaming sites. It's like Napster was back in the year 2000, practically everything is available instantly, with the exception of new movies which are there in decent quality after a few weeks usually. Simply type in whatever you want to watch, and there it is. All you need is a seriously hardcore ad-blocker setup; installing ublock origin and leaving it at the default settings is not going to cut it. It's pretty great, really. I was hoping for Netflix to win, but I haven't even bothered to sign in for a while now. The industry seems determined to head for a world where rich people pay ridiculous prices for a dozen different licensed streaming services, and the rest of us ride for free.
posted by sfenders at 11:02 AM on July 18


I don't believe that Netflix cancels shows after 2 seasons because they want to save costs.
My benign view of Netflix's business model is that it is supposed to work in the same way of Costco's - you are joining a club to get you through the front door. Once you are a member you benefit from the great selection of choices that are enabled by the combination the Netflix's size, its knowledge of its users and its expertise in purchasing or commissioning. We had a recent thread in the blue that talked about how well that strategy had worked for Costco - the company has had run-ins with its shareholders over the year over its policy of apparently favouring its customers (and employee's) welfare over theirs. Those argument have been pretty effectively silenced by the long term profitability of the company as an asset.
posted by rongorongo at 11:07 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


The industry seems determined to head for a world where rich people pay ridiculous prices for a dozen different licensed streaming services, and the rest of us ride for free.

Probably more likely a world where the "rest of us" spend a decent amount of time in prison.
posted by sideshow at 11:17 AM on July 18


The problem with the Costco analogy is, one of the reasons it works for Costco is that they aggressively reduce the total number of items they carry so that they're only carrying a small number of high quality items that they know their members prefer. In movies at least, Netflix has been going entirely the opposite route for a number of years.

It's kinda shocking how much of their movie catalog right now is past-their-prime actors making B- or C-grade movies by the numbers, mostly released in the last couple of years. It would be an exaggeration to say they're all shitty Steven Seagal movies because frankly many of them could only hope to be that. Netflix's movie strategy (outside of a few high profile licensed properties that they're losing imminently) is basically "made for TV movies, but we're pretending it's actually prestige works".

Even when they pull together actors who should honestly be able to put out something decent, you end up with something like Triple Frontier which was obvious, boring, a waste of acting talent, and based on how much they pushed it Netflix apparently thought it was like, an Oscar contender.
posted by tocts at 11:20 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


It’s almost like there’s another reason they keep throwing money at any project and then not even bothering to promote them
posted by The Whelk at 11:29 AM on July 18


I don't believe that Netflix cancels shows after 2 seasons because they want to save costs. That's not how the rest of TV works, and they don't provide any actual figures to back that up.

But Netflix isn't the rest of TV. That's kind of the point. TV sells eyeballs (ads) -- even basic cable TV relies on advertising. Netflix sells subscriptions. They do not care whether you watch, just whether you're subscribed.

I heard a podcast just this morning that pointed out that because of this fundamental difference, Netflix doesn't care about demographics in the way that TV networks do. That is, a network will cancel a show watched by millions of people over the age of 50 in favor of a show that they think will attract the exact same number of people under the age of 50, because that's The Demo -- the group that advertisers want seeing their ads. But Netflix doesn't care, because a 20-year-old's $12.99 is the same as a 70-year-old's $12.99.
posted by Etrigan at 11:35 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


They do not care whether you watch, just whether you're subscribed.

No. They care about making more money, which is why they raised the price in the US and lost US subscriptions, which is all public information. I mean, if they cared about 'subscriptions' solely, then they would be lowering their price. I guess we'll see, but I have my doubts a price drop is coming.

That is, a network will cancel a show watched by millions of people over the age of 50 in favor of a show that they think will attract the exact same number of people under the age of 50, because that's The Demo -- the group that advertisers want seeing their ads.
Yes of course they would, but this is not how things work, just switch out one demo for another with no loss in viewers. The top rated programs all have strong demos in the 50+ (NCIS, NCISLA, Law & Order etc) and huge overall ratings. CBS is almost watched exclusively by old people, and most of the shows have multiple seasons.
2019 ratings
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:10 PM on July 18


Ivan Fyodorovich: I think that Netflix would have been vulnerable had their strategy relied exclusively upon their total domination of North America, but that the success of their global strategy will prove to be the deciding factor of longer-term viability in a way Disney will not be able to duplicate.

I would have said "try" instead of "be able" there, but I think we otherwise agree on this. Disney has the money to buy all the (substantial) expertise it doesn't have already, but their MO is "the same thing we already do, just more." The way Netflix does global content launches with subtitles in 26(!) languages is something that Disney just hasn't had any interest in. In fact, they have release and distribution arrangements that will continue as long as their current incentives last. Disney will operate their streaming site for the US and probably just a few compatible major markets where they won't be stomping on existing distribution deals that already lock in a large, predictable amount of revenue. Netflix will do things like suggest I watch a Latin American documentary series about tacos, subtitled in English. And that's kind of where I'm at. Disney will probably make a pile of money on its streaming service, and I bet none of it will come from me.
posted by fedward at 1:02 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


They do not care whether you watch, just whether you're subscribed.

No. They care about making more money, which is why they raised the price in the US and lost US subscriptions, which is all public information. I mean, if they cared about 'subscriptions' solely, then they would be lowering their price. I guess we'll see, but I have my doubts a price drop is coming.


I think we all understand that publicly traded companies want to make money. My take was Ertigan was just identifying the difference in their business models to illustrate why Netflix is going to operate differently than a cable or network content provider. e.g. Netflix cares about revenue from subscriptions, network/cable content providers care about revenue from ads, hence eyeballs vs subscriptions.

Sure, it would be more accurate to say that Netflix cares only about subscriptions: how many they have, and how much they cost. Per their most recent 10-Q, Netflix has about 60.2M domestic subscribers. By increasing rates by 13% per the Vulture article, overall revenue increases 13% (in a vacuum). By losing 130,000 subscribers, revenue decreased about 0.2%.

Netflix knew where they were IRT market saturation in the states (hence why they have more of a growth model globally and continue to grow overall). They might have pulled the trigger a little early in that they could have captured more of the market, but from a strictly business perspective the price hike was a winner that netted to a ~13% increase in revenue relative to leaving it the same.
posted by avalonian at 1:14 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


They do not care whether you watch, just whether you're subscribed.

No. They care about making more money, which is why they raised the price in the US and lost US subscriptions, which is all public information.


I apologize for not making it more clear that I was saying they care about subscriptions as opposed to viewership. I agree that they are in the business of exchanging money for a service, and would therefore rather make more money than less.

That is, a network will cancel a show watched by millions of people over the age of 50 in favor of a show that they think will attract the exact same number of people under the age of 50, because that's The Demo -- the group that advertisers want seeing their ads.

Yes of course they would, but this is not how things work, just switch out one demo for another with no loss in viewers.


That is why I said "a show that they think will attract the same number of people".

CBS has several cop shows that get about 10M viewers a week outside the 18-49 demo. They would throw every one of them in the trash if they knew they could get 10M viewers a week inside the 18-49 demo. The reason they haven't is because they don't think anything else will get that, not because they love all those old viewers more than they love The Demo.

Don't believe me? There is historical precedent for throwing out one demographic for another en masse.
posted by Etrigan at 1:20 PM on July 18 [4 favorites]


Netflix seems to be actively trying to make me go away. I can enjoy TV shows, but good lord have they prioritized TV shows over movies in streaming. Actually just sitting down and watching a movie is not easy, in terms of finding anything you haven't seen that's worth seeing.

It certainly doesn't help that they constantly leak tv shows into their movie categories either. It's as if they just don't know what's what or that they actively want you to watch TV shows over movies even when you are explicitly looking for movies.
posted by srboisvert at 1:32 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I honestly don't think it's a conspiracy theory to say that they would rather you watch TV shows. The benefit of long-form serialized works is that the consumers of them will tend to sort of "buy in" to them, to the point where they want to stick around and see where they go even if things aren't always the best. If they had a choice between you watching 25 2-hour standalone movies or 50 hours of TV shows, I'd be shocked if Netflix wouldn't prefer the latter. Even if some episodes aren't the best you have some investment in seeing a long-form show through, whereas with the movies you might decide after 5 or 10 that this sucks and cancel your subscription.
posted by tocts at 3:31 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


(Following are quotes from various upthread comments, attributable to several people.)

"Their accessibility options are awful, they have plenty of non-English language content I actually want to watch but the subtitling and audio dubbing options are usually either awful, difficult to navigate or straight up missing entirely."

That's so contrary to my experience that I wonder if perhaps you're comparing these things to the ideal? For accessibility, captions for the hearing-impaired are far better on Netflix than the captioning elsewhere. They also offer some audio-description for the visually impaired that is rarely available elsewhere. This is with regard to television -- often DVD/Blu-Ray releases are good with these things but Netlix utilizes the work already done for the movies they stream. For original content, including content produced outside the US (or, in many cases, acquired rights to), Netflix is very reliable about offering quality captioning, accessibility and for translation. I don't know anything about dubbing because I refuse to watch with dubbed audio, but the large variety of non-English television and film with good subtitling is definitely attractive to me. For its global audience, dubbing is very important, but I've not seen any chatter that they're screwing this up. I can see many North Americans finding this non-English content cluttery and distracting, but I don't think the parochialism of North American anglophones are their chief concern.

"My benign view of Netflix's business model is that it is supposed to work in the same way of Costco's - you are joining a club to get you through the front door. Once you are a member you benefit from the great selection of choices that are enabled by the combination the Netflix's size, its knowledge of its users and its expertise in purchasing or commissioning."

You're right, and you explain why, but people may not have noticed some details of your argument, and the Costco comparison prompts some criticism:

"The problem with the Costco analogy is, one of the reasons it works for Costco is that they aggressively reduce the total number of items they carry so that they're only carrying a small number of high quality items that they know their members prefer. In movies at least, Netflix has been going entirely the opposite route for a number of years."

Several other people made a related point:

"It's kinda shocking how much of their movie catalog right now is past-their-prime actors making B- or C-grade movies by the numbers, mostly released in the last couple of years. It would be an exaggeration to say they're all shitty Steven Seagal movies because frankly many of them could only hope to be that. Netflix's movie strategy (outside of a few high profile licensed properties that they're losing imminently) is basically 'made for TV movies, but we're pretending it's actually prestige works'.

Etrigan noted:

"I heard a podcast just this morning that pointed out that because of this fundamental difference, Netflix doesn't care about demographics in the way that TV networks do. That is, a network will cancel a show watched by millions of people over the age of 50 in favor of a show that they think will attract the exact same number of people under the age of 50, because that's The Demo -- the group that advertisers want seeing their ads. But Netflix doesn't care, because a 20-year-old's $12.99 is the same as a 70-year-old's $12.99."

The Costco analogy actually works because, for a brick-and-mortar retailer, narrowing their selection to things that are carefully curated to cater to their customers, who are a relatively homogenous population, is both a necessary requirement of their business model and very effective given the demographic they are selling to.

These two things don't apply to Netflix, but the subscription aspect very much does. Netflix doesn't have to worry about the logistics of sourcing, shipping, and stocking a large variety of items -- that's a major problem for retailers. That Costco has found a niche where they can work around that is a key bit of genius of their strategy. Meanwhile, Netflix is basically in the opposite position: the more content, the better because they have a global audience consisting of vastly different demographics -- their limitations are finacial, not physical.

On the same vein, MetaFilter is a very narrow demographic. That many mefites are finding most of Netflix's offerings worthless to the point that they think there's no more value in subscribing is absolutely not representative.

I mean, there seems to almost universal disdain of Netflix's Adam Sandler movies, a disdain I share, but everything I've read about this notorious extreme example persuades that they know exactly what they're doing and consider it a success. For some portion of Netflix's subscribers, having new Adam Sandler movies to watch is, amazingly, a reason to subscribe.

It's hard to overstate how qualitatively distinct is the subscription streaming model from the advertising model (or, for that matter, the individually priced episodes and film a la carte model). It profoundly changes their optimal product offering and how and who they sell to. They want many of us to subscribe for prestige or critically acclaimed content like Russian Doll or Roma. I loved Santa Clarita Diet, too.

Which prompts a digression by me pointing out that there are a bunch of critically-acclaimed shows that I watch that get almost no posts or discussion on FanFare. SCD got three full-season posts averaging 23 comments each, even though its cancellation has been mentioned in this thread repeatedly. Few are posting or discussing Killing Eve, which is one of the most heavily Emmy-nominated shows. Even the beloved, critical darling shows that people like us say we're happy to pay for aren't actually drawing large audiences, even if we measure by activity here which is close to the best demographics for them. GoT is the exception, and pretty much the only one.

The point of this is that television audiences, especially, but also increasingly movie audiences (other than with regard to a few summer blockbusters) are fragmenting into multiple niches, which there's every reason to believe Netflix knows everything possible that can be known about them, who will subscribe or not subscribe to Netflix based upon whether, in a given month, there's something there they really want to see. And there usually is, even for us, despite the protestations otherwise. In addition to Russian Doll, there are at least three or four other Netflix original series I'd subscribe solely on their individual basis.

I think that it's almost certain this is true for a vast variety of demographics, even by global standards, which is increasingly important. Also, it bears pointing out that Netflix gets licenses for a lot of US content for various foreign markets, and between non-American markets, that demonstrates a lot of savvy and experience with a global reach that no one else has.

Several people have already pointed this out, but just because Disney controls a huge portion of US content and can wield near-monopolistic power, doesn't at all tell us that they know what they are doing as a streaming service, especially on a global basis. This is a very different area of expertise and no one has as much of it as Netflix.

I'm not a fanboy, though I may be giving that impression. It's just that I have a very strong sense that most analysis of this are badly blinkered, missing the larger picture.

All that said, I think this is partly, but only partly, relevant to revenue, profit, and valuation. Netflix is overvalued. Disney is a behemoth with a very strong track-record. There's every reason to believe that Disney's market capitalization of $260B is reasonable while, in contrast, Netflix's $140B is far too high. If I were a shareholder, I wouldn't be happy, although I think Netflix is doing the only thing it can do, and doing it well. I believe that will be enough for it to continue to dominate the global streaming of content, and that Disney Plus isn't that great of a threat, in the medium-to-long term. What all this means for revenue and profit and valuation is another matter. Related, definitely, but not like, say, a category killer like Amazon with regard to retail.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:49 PM on July 18 [6 favorites]


Reference points -
Netflix originals with more than 3 seasons:
  • Orange Is the New Black - 6 seasons, 78 episodes
  • House of Cards - 6 seasons, 73 episodes
  • Grace and Frankie - 5 seasons, 65 episodes
  • The Ranch - 6 parts, 60 episodes
  • Fuller House - 4 seasons, 57 episodes
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - 4 seasons, 51 episodes
Kid shows, 4+ seasons:
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender - 8 seasons, 78 episodes
  • Spirit Riding Free - 8 seasons, 52 episodes (only 4 original to Netflix)
  • Dragons: Race to the Edge - 6 seasons, 78 episodes (only 3 original to Netflix)
  • The Adventures of Puss in Boots - 6 seasons, 78 episodes
  • Trolls: The Beat Goes On! - 6 seasons, 38 episodes
  • All Hail King Julien - 5 seasons, 65 episodes
  • Dinotrux - 5 seasons, 52 episodes
  • VeggieTales in the House - 4 seasons, 52 episodes
  • The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show - 4 seasons, 52 episodes
  • Dawn of the Croods - 4 seasons, 52 episodes
  • Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh - 4 seasons, 52 episodes
There are also 13 "adult-ish" and 5 "family/child" series of 3 seasons. (Counting a couple with more, where "season" includes fewer than 5 episodes.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:34 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Everything associated with Henson Studios, so that new Dark Crystal series? Ultimately owned by Disney

The Jim Henson Company was in talks with Disney back in the 90s, but after Jim's death the deal never came together. They were owned by a German media company for a time, but were reacquired by the Henson family in the early 2000s.

Disney does own the Muppets and Bear In The Big Blue House, and Disney has the Muppets Studio as one of their subgroups. Wikipedia
posted by hippybear at 6:20 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Netflix' revenue is from subscriptions. This means Netflix' optimized business would be a lot of subscribers who never watch, eliminating the infrastructure, labor and bandwidth necessary to maintain large-scale streaming, which is very expensive. I'm not suggesting that Netflix is trying to coax people into subscribing and then discourage them from watching anything. That's provably wrong.

But it means their business model can minimize the relevance of audience loyalty to any show. The structure is, in a sense, only interested in how any show helps add or retain subscribers. Netflix is most assuredly quantifying (or attempting to quantify) this through analytics. A show with a lot of viewers has less value than a minor show if the popular show is only watched by people who already have Netflix subscriptions while the minor show drew a lot of new subscribers. Both shows might be axed if they don't draw (or retain) additional subscribers when their second seasons ship.

If Netflix is churning series in two-season chunks, it's because Netflix probably has data backing an assumption that on average, most series (with some exceptions, either as flagship shows or breakout hits) only retain audience interest for two seasons before their contribution to subscription retention/new adds tails off; at the macro level, cycling through a lot of good-enough shows probably means constant low-level subscriber stimulus, and are lower risk than nurturing excellent sleepers in the hopes that they eventually draw a lot of attention and fresh subscriptions.
posted by at by at 7:22 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


I do get the feeling that most of Netflix's "original" (in the US) shows that run for more than a couple of seasons only do so because they are co-produced with a traditional network in one or more other countries.

I suspect the same will be true of "saves" that move from other networks due to viewer demand. (I'm thinking specifically of Lucifer) They likely get enough subs to justify the cost for the first new season, but after that they have little incentive to continue producing new seasons unless they expect a lot of people to cancel their subscriptions when they drop a show.

Honestly, I don't mind shows having a limited run. What really bugs me is unexpected cancellations that end up leaving the viewer hanging, which hasn't been something I've seen happen. If everyone enters into the project with the expectation that there will only be two seasons, I still consider that a big improvement over the previous model where shows often get cancelled with little to no warning and thus end in a very unsatisfying way. (Stargate: Universe being the example most prominent in my mind.)
posted by wierdo at 6:10 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


In New Zealand, up until a few years ago, it wasn’t unusual to have to wait a year or two for a popular or critically received show to air. I find torrenting annoying and I prefer to pay for content. internet connection is expensive. Small country, scale of economies.

Netflix and Amazon Prime have been a boon. It’s all about timeliness. The hate-on is baffling to me. Now I can participate in discussing shows and movies with my friends in North America, Europe, and the UK. Because we love the visual medium. I find the foreign movies selection to be okay and subtitling excellent. It was a small survey - several from Spain, Mexico, and France — and what was said was translated and summarised well.
posted by lemon_icing at 12:50 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Netflix pioneered another thing, as far as I’m aware: releasing entire seasons at once. I suspect that loyalty is built through anticipation and suspense. Even the most compelling show, if watched in one or two sittings, is not going to generate the same interest in future seasons as it would if it was stretched out over many weeks. It just doesn’t have time to take root in people’s minds. Plus there will be the accompanying pang of slight regret over wasting an entire weekend binge-watching the show.

So given all that, I’d consider Netflix’s offerings more as miniseries, or long movies chopped up into segments, than classic TV shows. Through that lens, getting a second season is a bonus.

It’s surely different, but I’m not sure if it’s worse. It encourages writers to pack shows with content rather than filler, since the shows won’t get very long to build out their arc. Higher turnover gives more chances for actors to land starring roles. And you won’t get zombie shows like some of the classic sitcoms, that go on and on without being willing to take any major risks in the storyline, for fear of painting themselves into a corner.
posted by mantecol at 5:01 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


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