With a subtle tap on your screen, a versatile world of daring storytelling comes to life. That’s what Netflix is to most of its subscribers. Setting the stakes high is Netflix’s everyday procedure. Being the most talked about on-demand service does, however, have drawbacks. Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings has spoken out on the company’s success and what he believes to be an ambiguous decision in CNBC this week.
“Our hit ratio is way too high right now. So, we’ve canceled very few shows … I’m always pushing the content team: We have to take more risks; you have to try more crazy things. Because we should have a higher cancel rate overall. [By taking risks] you get some winners that are just unbelievable winners, like 13 Reasons Why. It surprised us. It’s a great show, but we didn’t realize just how it would catch on.”
This strategy has caused the deaths of well-beloved shows by minority groups like The Get Down and Sense8. Netflix also canceled Bloodline and Hemlock Grove in the past. What is odd and fairly inexcusable is the obvious fact that Netflix is lying to its viewers why certain shows are getting axed. Netflix stated they could not continue supporting The Get Down because of its high budget per episode. The same was announced for Sense8.
The claim of an expensive budget is false. Reed Hastings commits on venturing out Netflix original content with $6 million and beyond. It comes to show how rigorously spineless Netflix is. Netflix is acclaimed for its diverse content, amplifying the voices for the voiceless. Yet, as viewers, we forget Netflix is a corporate company who is in it for the money. The company does not care for its social justice status — it cares only for the profit it makes. The more hype a show gets regardless of how damaging it is, the more profit Netflix receives. Canceling shows and producing new ones with a repetitive budget so they can ax it is how they keep the wheels turning. Especially when those wheels are replaced with weak storytelling and uninformative content. A cunning move for Hastings, not a friendly move for content creators and viewers alike.
Content creators are at much greater risk now that their creation will not be insured by Netflix. At any given moment Netflix can make the decision of putting an end to your cherished show. With cable TV, creators have a visual on their cancellation doom date. Most companies publicly release viewership data. Netflix does not publicly release viewership data so we may never know which shows are at risk of cancellation.
Do you believe this is an innovative move for the company? Or do you see it falling out in the near future?
In the words of Reeds:
“We should have a higher cancel rate overall.”