I'm really resisting the urge to make the obvious jokes so I'll put it bluntly: Netflix is losing Schitt's Creek to rival service Hulu in the US. All six seasons of the massive comedy hit are heading to pastures new in October, so if you haven't already binged it – or if you want to binge it again – you've got a few months to catch it with your Netflix subscription. And you should, because it's brilliant: warm, beautifully written and very, very funny.
The move to Hulu is more significant than it might seem, because Hulu happens to be owned primarily by one company: Disney. The Mouse House has a majority, controlling stake in the streamer (opens in new tab), and in that context the departure from Netflix looks awfully like Disney using its considerable clout to strip Netflix of one of its biggest hits – and of an excellent marketing tool, because Schitt's Creek has been the show that launched a million memes, like the famous "Eww" image below.
And, well, with the show unceremoniously being stripped from the streamer, it sure looks like it leaves Netflix up Schitt's Creek without a paddle. Sorry, I couldn't resist!
The streaming Cold War continues
Netflix's current woes – it's lost over 200,000 subscribers and expects to lose considerably more in the coming months – aren't all down to Disney. But Schitt's Creek is the latest in a string of hits that have moved from Netflix to Disney properties, mostly Disney Plus: the departure of the Marvel catalogue was a big loss.
And more Netflix hits have moved to other rivals, too, such as Friends (now on HBO Max), the good version of The Office and multiple Star Trek properties (Paramount), while in the UK, Prison Break, New Girl, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother and Sons of Anarchy (all Disney+). Dawson's Creek is also about to get ejected from the Netflix library, too.
Analysts say that fans of such shows are a "high risk" for Netflix: their loyalty is to their favourite show, not a particular streaming service. Speaking to The Guardian, Digital I analyst and owner Ali Vahdati suggested that the departure of the UK titles could lose Netflix millions if the shows' fans switched. “Modern Family was the most streamed Netflix show in Europe in 2020,” Vahdati said, noting that over 270,000 subscribers could be considered "hardcore fans" whose viewing was largely that one show and very little else.
I know how they feel. I'm only really on Netflix right now for the final season of Better Call Saul and for my eldest, The Umbrella Academy; when they're done there's nothing with a similarly strong pull for either of us. And with a crackdown on Netflix password sharing apparently imminent the service is going to become a lot less useful for me. I can see my Netflix account working like my Now TV one: activated for a few weeks for a particular show and then cancelled again when there's nothing I want to watch. The more hits leave the service, the more subscribers it's likely to shed.