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I just recently cancelled my Netflix subscription after 10+ years of being a customer (after they raised the prices, yet again).

For me, the problem is they are just throwing too many darts at the wall at this point. There is just sooo much garbage original content being added monthly, it seems. They are almost over optimizing/testing their shows, in my opinion. Instead of focusing on the good shows (obviously opinionated), and building up on them with new seasons, it seems like they are just investing more into new content to see what happens. Sadly, they have also been ending a lot of what I thought were popular shows on there (some of my favorites). Their catalog outside of Netflix original shows has also been dropping significantly, which many very popular shows leaving here soon (Office/Friends).

I used to spend about 80/20% time on Netflix/Hulu, now it's 100% Hulu after cancelling Netflix. The content on Hulu has been ramping up significantly for their TV department (non-originals). Plus, I love having my HBO through Hulu, and it's all in one place under 1 subscription payment.

I'll most likely re-subscribe to Netflix again in a few years just for a month or two to watch a few seasons of new content that will actually interest me (then cancel again), but until then, no need to pay them so they can produce the copious amounts of BS half-assed content like they seem to only be doing lately.




It just sounds like they’re doing what every other network does. A bunch of it is trash you don’t care about but another subset of their customers do. It’s not all commissioned for us personally, and Netflix will always prioritise their own shows before others in the app.

It’s not like you watch HBO 12 hours a day expecting pure content that you love from start to finish.

That said, apart from the tent pole series they [plan to] push out each year (stranger things, better call saul, Fargo, mindhunter, nightflyers, etc.) the rest is clearly data driven garbage that doesn’t realise it’s working a cliche. With a couple of exceptions even the marvel universe shows fell into their pattern.

In that sense it’s Netflix Unoriginal Content. But you still get the diamond in the mine.

Being in the EU I get about 8 different translations of two different kinds of zombie story, but you’re not really paying for that.

And on the same level, it’s a shame that streaming is now split. American Gods, Good Omens, The Expanse, and Mr Robot are all on Amazon. Netflix definitely dropped a ball on some of that. The TV show costs the same but I have to pay 2x to watch because of the networks.


Netflix is a bit different in that (recently) they seem unusually reluctant to renew shows after the second season. People speculate that this is a rentier play, new customers don't value season 3+ as much as existing customers. Netflix expects new content to bring in new customers and they hope to be just good enough for existing customers that they don't cancel.


Fargo and Better Call Saul are FX shows, not Netflix Originals


Outside the US they're only available on Netflix and are marketed as "Netflix Originals".


I’m writing from the UK. Netflix handles that here and they schedule the episodes weekly. In Europe they’re Netflix Originals because we don’t have FX or AMC or CBS or whatever, but the new and popular ones don’t get aired until the US has aired. So our fix of, say, Better Call Saul, comes on a Sunday or Monday.


Strange, they must have payed a pretty penny to slap that label on it.


That's true for streaming only, and with a few exceptions.


They do this relabeling a lot for shows where they get exclusive rights in a particular country. For example, a lot of Korean fantasy stuff is released in the US as a "Netflix original".


I replied to half of that already through the other reply to this... in the EU we get Better Call Saul and we get Fargo... but not Legion!

Who wouldn’t want more Noah Hawkley.


I thought Better Call Saul was an AMC show?


I think it's fair to point out that often they don't have a choice with those shows as the owners of the properties are jacking up the price in order to move to their own streaming services.

What Netflix should be called on is their stubborn refusal to improve the interface/search. They want to make it seem like they have oodles of content so they show the same show 5 times under different genres on the main page. They have all the information there, yet you can't do a search based on a combination of tags or genres.

I've been doing the 2 months off 1 month on thing for a while not because I don't feel their content is worth the full price but because when a company looks like it's trying to 'trick' you it loses a lot of goodwill.


> I think it's fair to point out that often they don't have a choice with those shows as the owners of the properties are jacking up the price in order to move to their own streaming services.

An alternative way to phrase this would be that the owners have realized that the streaming rights for their properties are worth a lot more than Netflix was paying for them.


Oh undoubtedly the quality shows are worth more when siloed off like this. We know, in the US, cable pricing is $107 a month on average and the average advertised price of internet is $60. Assuming you use the internet only for streaming that's 47 bucks that a cable viewer should be willing to spend on equivalent streaming services (with some liberal whitewashing of smaller issues and wide assumptions on the fungibility(in both directions) of entertainment).

So there's obviously more money on the table there than netflix charges. It's just a pity that these businesses are going to, by necessity (or arguably short sightedness), re-fragment how consumers gain access to shows. For every increase in inconvenience they'll make piracy a more appealing option. Especially globally where broadcasting/streaming rights are an even more fragmented mess.


Yeah, their lack of better search features and categories is really annoying


I was bummed when they canceled Marco Polo, I liked that show. They seem to be canceling way too many shows. Kinda reminds me of Google canceling products left and right, even those with tons of users...


This newsletter from early last week had some really interesting thoughts about this: https://mattstoller.substack.com/p/the-slow-death-of-hollywo...

It quoted a section from an article in The Information:

> [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. Ending a show after the second season saves money, because showrunners who oversee production tend to negotiate a boost in pay after two years.


I left Netflix because they kept cancelling shows I liked after two seasons and continued to pump out low quality garbage. I think they might be incorrect in their assumptions at this point about just how valuable their offerings are, which isn't very. They have no real good movies, not even old movies, their television shows aren't generally worth getting invested in because they'll cancel them unless it's a super big hit. Why bother sticking around when Hulu or Philo offers more for the same money?


It's unfortunate that even Netflix wasn't able to transition the industry to episodic production runs as opposed to season-based.

Is it possible that the best distribution is an exponential backoff of new episode timing instead of just cutting it off at "2 seasons".


The financial uncertainty would be appalling.


Exactly. It discourages you to invest time in shows that seem to be cancelled so quickly. A lot of them having very abrupt/poor endings, as well.


It's pushing me to a "I'll watch it when it's done. The whole thing, not the season. Maybe, if I still feel like it by then" stance, which isn't where they want me for a monthly subscription. Cancellation imminent for that and other reasons.


I didn't watch Marco Polo, so I hope it didn't leave you on a cliff hanger, but I would look at it as a good thing.

I feel like a majority of shows in the U.K. tend to only go for a few seasons then stop. Compare that to typical shows in the U.S. getting beaten to death, having most viewers think the show might have gone one season too long.

That could mean the stories are written to wrap up mostly nicely, instead of leaving cliff hangers to lead to the potential next season.

Compare Weeds (8 Seasons) to Breaking Bad (5 Seasons), B.B was written to not drag on forever. The recent GoT season finale, where lots of fans went a bit overboard with their reactions when the show runners ran out of their own original ideas. LOST, anyone?

My best example is looking at Black Mirror. When that was mainly for a U.K. audience the first two seasons could have ended and that would have been the best two season show. Netflix did swoop in and that gave us White Christmas(?), but the show has definitely been tailored to American audiences and maybe the premise is being drawn out too much at this point. Don't get me wrong, I love me some more Black Mirror or any of the other shows listed above, but sometimes a story needs to end even if it means its shorter than you expected.


I've said it before but I agree - Netflix sure adds a lot of original content, but I've yet to see a true masterpiece deserving its place among The Wie, The Sopranos or Mad Men and lately I'm starting to think that Netflxi is entirely fine with producing good enough content which adds and retains subscribers while never really stading out. Of course it's entirely reasonable to do so if it's a successful approach, but I can't say I like it and I don't think it leads to exceptional, high prestige content. If HBO produced their content mostly according to numbers while neglecting artistic considerations The Wire would have been done after Season 1.

Furthermroe, did you see the other discussion about Netfli/Hollywood recently here on HN? [0]

From the article:

> 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.

> Ending a show after the second season saves money, because showrunners who oversee production tend to negotiate a boost in pay after two years.

Propably a financially sound approach, but I doubt I'll stay a subscriber much longer if that's the direction they are heading.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20403587


I think Netflix is pursuing the Silicon Valley mantra of product development: try everything, iterate fast, fail things fast. We've seen how that resulted in eroding users trust in many Google products (chat applications especially) so I think in the end it's going to end up hurting Netflix too.

Or look at how the main complain people have about Steam (when moving to GOG and other platforms) is the sheer amount of "crap" on that platform making discoverability of high quality content very hard.


They make shows to match different demographics and user groups. Not every show is supposed to be enjoyed by every person. It is about making a broad range of shows to meet the wants of multiple people. Going out on a limb, but I assume most young adults don't care about high brow political shows like House of Cards and would rather watch shows like The Society.


Yes, but the trial-and-error model of Netflix original content production is exactly the same as it is for series produced chiefly to be shown on major US TV channels.

The difference is, more of this content used to be licensed to Netflix, but shows have been leaving as licensing deals expire and typically end up on Hulu, which is a first-party platform for Disney (ABC, Freeform, FX, A&E) and NBC (Syfy, Bravo, USA), and a third-party platform for WarnerMedia until they finish starting their own.

Streaming services are proliferating as each vertical starts their own, and exclusivity is being leveraged to drive subscriber numbers. Discerning viewers can choose on content or cycle out subscriptions as they consume the material of interest, while casual viewers can choose on a different dimension like price per month, size of back catalog, variety of genres, search and discovery tools, or lack or presence of commercial breaks.


It's sort of a well-known pitfall of centralized product management. In the short term, it's less risky and more profitable to create a product that 1000 people would find passable, than to create 10 different products that would be loved by their 100-people audiences and ignored otherwise. However, in the long term this erodes people's expectations of future products and they eventually move on. That's a part of the normal economic cycle and the reason why big corporations eventually go bust.

I think, this process is happening throughout the entire motion picture industry and in the next 10-20 years we will likely see a shift to some new type of entertainment that hasn't been ruined by formalized best practices yet.


> that hasn't been ruined by formalized best practices yet

So, Youtube? Unless Google ruins it in its own way of course.


> Instead of focusing on the good shows (obviously opinionated), and building up on them with new seasons, it seems like they are just investing more into new content to see what happens.

Can't have more good shows if you don't make new shows.

The writing's clearly on the wall - the major content providers are cutting Netflix off. They need a large stable of good-enough content, and quickly. Some of that new content will be crap, just like on the networks. Some will be awesome. Some of the awesome stuff will get enough viewers to stick around.


That's fair, and I understand that point as well. But when it feels like R&D is starting to steal from the good money makers, that seems like a problem to me. That the effort/focus is in the wrong place and more resources are going into the wrong bucket. But again, this is just from an outside opinion with no data to back that up. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Your comment reminds of this wonderfully written post by Roger Ebert[1]. It's not the same topic, but there is something to be glanced at in his writing where he eludes to choice, editorial-ism, and doing a story regardless of what the audience wants.

[1] https://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/video-games-can-ne...


This is the worst, most opinionated, garbage article I've ever read. I feel like I'm reading the article from the Simpsons, 'Old Man Yells at Cloud'.

In reference to 'Braid': 'She also admires a story told between the games levels, which exhibits prose on the level of a wordy fortune cookie.'

Anyone who needs to stoop to the level of insulting something to convince me it's not legitimate is not presenting their argument in an intelligent or unbiased manner. You wanted people to read this? I'm not even sure how it's relevant, but I can't get past how awfully written it is.


Sure, no worries. You probably don't know about Roger, who is a good writer actually and much humbler man than what you thought out of this post.

And I think you just misunderstood the statement, his fortune cookie reference is to the story in the game, not to the person referred to by "She'.


I think Netflix is trying to pump out as many original series as they can because Disney+ is on the horizon and they already own Hulu. Netflix’s best bet is to pump a lot of money into new content since non originals will be more expensive for them, but going the HBO route requires very impressive shows that have multiple seasons. Netflix is just throwing darts on the wall trying to achieve this.


Netflix streaming might be like the big box hardware store coming into town.

You might be able to get lots of cheap stuff, but they will eventually destroy the market for quality fixtures or tools or paint or whatever.

I do like the DVD service.


I've been watching more Hulu just because it comes with my Spotify subscription. After years of Netflix having different shows is great.


Subscription and bundling works until there are too many Subscription. And we might one day move back to Pay Per View again.


Doesn't hulu have ads? (this means untrustworthy to me)


They have cheaper plans that do have ads, yes. But it's a pretty cheap add-on to be ad-free.




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