Netflix is famous for cancelling shows before their time (I'll never stop the campaign for season 2 of Teenage Bounty Hunters) but it has emerged that last year saw the streaming service embark on a record-breaking cull.
According to Bloomberg, Netflix released over 100 fewer original shows last year (130 to be exact) than it did in 2022. That's the first time in its history. While we can all agree that not every show deserves to live forever, some have gone before their time. Some of the most high-profile cancellations of 2023 included Shadow and Bone and Lockwood & Co which boasts a superb 94% Rotten Tomatoes score.
So why the change in strategy? Well after some significant viewing figures were made public for the first time last month, we have been asked to re-examine the way we look at the success of a show. One key figure that many have brought up is the completion rate- the portion of people who watch a show all the way through, so if you love something make sure to finish it. Also, fantasy shows like those listed above obviously are expensive to make, so Netflix will need a higher return than say on a studio sitcom.
Netflix has also changed its mandate from quantity to quality. There is a massive library of tiles to stream now so it can focus on making standout projects instead. 2023 saw some brilliant original movies hit the platform, with the likes of They Cloned Tyrone and The Killer, while the budget on Squid Game: The Challenge must have been astronomical.
In all honesty, this is probably the direction I would prefer Netflix take. There is already more than a lifetime's worth of content across the best streaming services so I'd rather they work on something standout instead. I just wish they'd give us more closure for shows that have a significant fanbase and an unfinished ending. So here's to 2024, the year of less is more.