Why Netflix Cancels Shows After Just One Month

The French series Funny was canceled by Netflix just 4 weeks after its online release. The decision is no exception: the video-on-demand subscription platform has a theory about whether or not a production will work in the long run. Much to the chagrin of risk taking and creativity.

Three years to be created, 28 days to be cancelled. It is the sad fate that has met Funny, the French series that Netflix has chosen not to renew for a new season, the Inrocks learned on May 12. The series had been put online on March 18.

However, the teams had heard the news even earlier: Twenty-eight days had passed since Funny was online when we were told that it would not continue. which is extremely fast “, Fanny Herrero, the showrunner, confided to Télérama in the process. Netflix advances in audience issues: the series would not have” did not find its audience “To the chagrin, even, of the French teams on the platform, according to the Inrocks.

Only one month to give a series a chance? The time frame may seem extremely short. Above all, in our case, when it comes to a long-awaited production, from one of the most prominent French showrunners, who shook the codes of fluid productions to offer an energetic narration with detailed characters.

4 weeks to reach your audience or disappear

Funny in fact it is far from being an exception. The chance of the calendar wanted that the day before, Vanity Fair published a long survey dedicated to Netflix’s creation and distribution policy in terms of series, interviewing the showrunners (people who have a vision of almost all stages of creation) who have developed projects for the platform. One of them, on condition of anonymity, confirms this mysterious four-week rule: “ Netflix has a philosophy: how a series does in the first month, during its first season, is the best indicator of how it will perform forever..”

This does not seem to be true anywhere else. There are so many series that find their audience over time, thanks to word of mouth. Especially in today’s environment where there is so much television: very few programs are a hit in the same afternoon. “, This usual continues.

What were the audiences? Funny ? How many viewers had stopped watching the series along the way? Netflix won’t say. She only shared these figures with the teams in the series, she kept quiet. ” Even if we didn’t get 60 million ‘viewers’, it deserved to exist on the platform. “, has lamented the actor Younès Boucif (Nezir in the series).

Younès Boucif in the Netflix series Funny

The platform has used its own statistics since its inception and analyzes the numbers it wants to make its decisions. Publicly, she has long communicated only the number ” see intentions », or the number of people who have seen the first two minutes of an episode or a movie. Today, the firm also makes a weekly ranking of the most viewed content according to the volume of viewing hours.

Binge-watching: one of the keys to understanding

Before the deployment of the other giants Disney +, Amazon Prime Video or Apple TV +, Netflix had time to impose a new mode of consumption: putting an entire season online, on the same day at the same time. The practice of series marathons, until now reserved for those who had DVD boxes or who downloaded entire seasons, later spread and democratized. The term has become inseparable from online subscription streaming platforms.

Evolution of Google searches for the term “Binge Watching” since 2004 // Source: Google Trends
Evolution of Google searches for the term “Binge Watching” since 2004 // Source: Google Trends

But this emphasis on Binge, which has created numerous debates in series fan circles, but also among observers overwhelmed by this democratization of a hitherto more marginal practice, has direct consequences for the way Netflix makes its decisions. If you take into account that in one or two weeks, a series that has just been released can be “drunk” by tens of millions of people, then that is where the cursor will be placed to decide the fate of the others. The operation is so different from that of linear television that comparing the differences between the renewal decisions would be almost meaningless.

Ted Sarandos, the co-CEO of the company, does not hide it: We are currently not happy with our subscriber growth… We have to produce one… Bridgerton Chronicle a month, and we need to make sure that this is the level of demand we have for our service. “, he recalled in April, while Netflix suffered a historic loss of 200,000 paying subscribers in a quarter.

Season 2 of The Bridgerton Chronicle, a tasteless series produced by series queen Shonda Rimes, garnered 200 million hours of viewing a week after it launched online last April. Also allowing the first season to rack up 50 million viewing hours again, which paradoxically shows that a new season can revive interest in a season 1 and bring a long-term series to life.

The streaming giant has rarely bent its one-season “block” rule, unlike the competition: Disney+ has managed to stir the sauce around its original output. vision of wandawhich might not have generated as much attention if the episodes hadn’t been uploaded weekly.

Hence, to say that Netflix would not give any original program a chance would be an exaggeration: the multinational is constantly testing things, as evidenced by nuggets like sense8, the OA, tuka and bertie or the miniseries amazing Y Heterodox. The observation is, however, relentless: few original series, more niche (or “more divisive”, from the consumer point of view) than a Bridgertonthey continue on their way beyond the second or third season.

Remember that Netflix is ​​a kind of great audiovisual supermarket. As in all supermarkets, there are the main aisles full of the flagship products of well-known brands that customers buy mechanically, and there are the smaller stalls, less crowded, with fewer products, a little more expensive and tasty. These don’t build crowds, but increase the overall quality of the consumer experience. You still have to remember to stock the shelves.

Source: Numerama edition

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