If you're a fan of Netflix, it's probably because it's constantly dropping new series for you to enjoy. But one of the problems many people have with the streaming service is that shows don't usually last longer than 2 seasons. In fact, unless they are a breakout hit like Stranger Things, you can almost assume the second season will be the last.
Although Netflix doesn't release data the way network or cable companies do, it has its own internal evaluation system for what shows are worth the time, effort, and money it puts into the making of new seasons.
A letter sent to the House of Lords Communications and Digital Select Committee detailed how Netflix decides on what metrics to use when evaluating new seasons. They landed on 3 main reasons Netflix extends shows.
The first way is called "Starters," and it focuses on how many people watched just one episode of the series and how long they watched it for. The second way is called "Completers," which, as you can guess, has to do with how many subscribers finish an entire season of the show in question.
Finally, you have the "Watchers" or the number of subscribers who generally watch a show.
Mike Colter as Luke Cage on NetflixCredit: Netflix
You can come to the conclusion that if these numbers are bad, then your favorite show is probably going to not make it past Season 2.
Netflix is especially concerned with who watches in the very first month of the release. Since the streamer's customers are used to binge watching, it cares that people watch it all ASAP, not wait and find it later. Releases of its shows are big-ticket items. If subscribers are not watching right away...then maybe that show is not bringing enough heat.
Competition in streaming is fierce, and each canceled show should be looked at on a case by case basis.
For example, Luke Cage might have been very popular, and I know the Marvel shows on Netflix were huge hits for them, but once Disney+ entered the equation, why would Netflix continue to spend money advertising Marvel and Disney products?
So, what can you do if you love a Netflix show and want it to make as many seasons as possible?
Well, we know that the first 28 days are critical periods to be both a watcher and a completer. And if you can, get everyone you know to join your binge-quest.
Obviously, this way of making movies and television is new. It's completely data-driven, and it really doesn't matter about the quality. That can be so hard to deal with, especially because it's not easy to find new shows on Netflix all the time. You have to search the thumbnails or catch a trailer.
But they have to work this way because Netflix employs a cost-plus model, which means that it pays a show’s entire production costs, plus a 30% premium. Netflix shows are expensive because the company holds onto them. There's no money to be made in syndication, so it needs to make creators feel enticed to sell their ideas to them.
That's why they give TV producers and writers bonuses and pay bumps as a series carries on. Those bumps get significantly bigger as time goes on...so if you're not a hit by Season 2...why keep paying a premium?
It's brutal, but that's Netflix's reality.
What do you think of this way Netflix chooses what stays on the air?
Is this better than the typical Nielsen Rating System, or do you think it pulls the plug on shows without letting them find their audience?
Let us know in the comments!