It’s happened to so many of us: you’re invested in a Netflix show, you drink every episode, and then it’s canceled. My first taste of it was an incomparable American vandal show that ambushed me for being the best, freshest comedy I had ever watched in Philadelphia for a sunny time before it was brutally poured out after two seasons.
Still, if I were willing to drop my standard and watch Ranch with Ashton Kutcher, I would have had 80 full episodes.
Despite being a leading global TV producer and distributor today, Netflix’s decision-making may seem as cruel as any traditional television network. The show may find itself at the top of the most watched lists in the UK or the US and still end up in a headdress. In that case that GLOW, it can even be named four Emmys, gain widespread popularity and still go away.
Last week it was revealed that the drama next to Sherlock Holmes Irregular will not come back for the second season. At the end of April, Netflix confirmed that the final season of the last historical drama is The Last Kingdom. Also in late April, Katherine Ryan’s comedy series Duchess confirmed that her star would blackmail after one season – despite Ryan explaining that about 10 million people had watched it in the first 28 days.
These aren’t really related events, but they ask why Netflix cancels the show and what counts as a hit – or a failure. Here’s how Netflix shares its information, what we can learn from why a presentation is canceled from other sources, and why it seems unfair when Netflix controls the series.
Netflix’s way of sharing information is limited
From the outside, Netflix cancellations differ from cancellations on traditional television networks in that it shares information about individual programs. It No, most of the time – unless it prides itself on the success of a new or returning series for shareholders. That is why Netflix mentioned it in its latest letter to investors Cobra Kai season 3 watched 45 million households in the first month or that the mother / daughter comedy Ginny & Georgia watched 52 million households.
You tend to learn from successes, but not necessarily from failures. This means that it is difficult to understand Netflix ‘s internal criteria for whether a presentation has worked well or not – or indeed, the reasons for not renewing the series.
Netflix significantly changed the criteria for what is considered a household watching a show in early 2020, in just two minutes. “The exact definition chose to watch and watched for at least 2 minutes – long enough to show that the choice was intentional,” that’s how it describes this metric. So 45 million households watched the third season of Cobra Kai for at least two minutes (and hopefully more if they have tasted good TV).
Traditional U.S. television networks use Nielsen ratings as commonly used industry standards. This basically means that the sample size of American viewers is used to determine the overall score of the series or its share of the total audience. In October 2019, that sample was 40,000 households with about 100,000 viewers. Hollywood Reporter (Nielsen’s exact method is explained here).
Not all decisions about the future of a TV show are made based on Nielsen ratings. Syndication or streaming offers can also be a factor or how a performance performs from a repeat view. At least traditionally, you can understand the logic that a low-level web program is canceled – the data is publicly available for consumption and analysis. With Netflix, it’s more of a mystery, and we decide to look elsewhere for information.
Irregular case study to cancel
How we find out that these performances have been canceled is also frustrating. Hollywood trade magazines usually get the news – Deadline revealed that, for example, irregular ones were canceled instead of Netflix ‘s own (highly active) social media channels. It is left to speculate that the limited popularity of the series was a factor instead of knowing exactly why it went away.
Sometimes we learn the reason – for tightened Netflix programs The club and I are not okay with this, the increase in budget costs after the pandemic was reportedly a factor.
However, the irregular cancellation is pretty light on the details if you’re a fan and want to learn why it got chopped. The schedule was undeniably also sudden: the irregular debuted on March 26th. By May 5, news of its cancellation was general. Netflix no doubt has the information to understand why it was the right decision – but it basically means that the only window that was relevant to the renewal of that presentation was its opening month.
What happens if the show really catches on for about a year or finds a cult audience over time? The message is that it doesn’t seem to be counting down, based on the axising of Irregularities. Fast cancellations are certainly not unique to Netflix and have long preceded the existence of streaming services. But in theory, the streaming service has the power to keep the series in series forever, and the shelf life can be longer.
The key question for The Irregulars is, could it be called a hit? Netflix itself does not disclose the performance of the presentation, but several third-party sources have. Nielsen, who measures streaming only in the United States, says that irregularities were considered 643 million minutes during the second week ending April 4th. It was that week’s top program with all the streams it measured.
It is more than Disney Plushigh profile Marvel show Falcon and winter soldier, which garnered 629 million minutes from U.S. viewers – of course, this show is released weekly, while The Irregulars dropped with all eight fairly long episodes at once.
So the comparison is not too useful. And because we don’t know how it performed internationally or what are Netflix’s criteria for a successful series, we can’t take Nielsen’s data as proof that it was a hit, even though it was number one on this chart.
Let’s look at another source of information. Reelgood, which measures the viewing habits of 2 million registered U.S. users, puts The Irregular’s popularity on the availability of the latest Netflix hits, including The Queen’s Gambit and Bridgerton, in less than the first four weeks. For example, in the first week, Reelgood said irregular users had a 3.7% streaming and engagement rate, compared to Queen Gambit’s 5.4 percent. By the fourth week, The Irregulars had fallen to just 1.2%. Queen’s Gambit, meanwhile, rose 5.7 percent in Week 4. This suggests it didn’t have a long tail with viewers.
Again, this is just an audience sample from one country – but it shows that the number one release on Netflix lists doesn’t necessarily make the series an automatic hit.
Netflix’s global reach is a factor for fans
Netflix’s way of releasing programs is very satisfying – new seasons are dropped globally at once so everyone can enjoy at the same time. This is a great thing in terms of access, and far from the era of staggered global publications based on the imagination of local broadcasters.
It also means that disappointment is undeniably confirmed when the presentation tightens. Netflix has a massive platform with more than 207 million paid global subscribers – if the show gains some popularity but is still canceled, it’s still a lot of people who could potentially be shocked at the same time.
It sounds arbitrary, but it’s quite different from the way traditional TV works, where you can’t trust everyone around the world to see the same thing at the same time.
For example, I was excited to see the AMC series Lodge 49, starring The Falcon and the winter soldier Wyatt Russell. The first season will be streamed on Amazon Prime Video in the UK, but I can’t watch another one there. The show was canceled back in 2019 after those two seasons – apparently only U.S. viewers who watched it on cable at the time can influence the outcome.
If Lodge 49 were a Netflix show, it would have been released in the UK at the same time it landed in the US. There may be fans in the series who liked the series. It may have been relevant to Netflix as a service that is declining in popularity from “member households” around the world.
Since Netflix is a global forum, I think the relationship to the shows we love feels a little different. For one you pay directly for the service. When you watch something for multiple episodes, it counts as a recommendation – and TV shows tell you about your ranking as a viewer. If you take the time to look at something you thought was a hot new thing, then it won’t get another season that it may have needed to reach its full potential, it doesn’t feel good.
It may be a business reality, but it has certainly made me commit to being more likely to watch a limited series than an ongoing show.
Ultimately, Netflix isn’t really any more or less fair than other broadcasters when it comes to axis sets – it’s just about its criteria and priorities. The difference is in scale, even a small hit on Netflix feels like it has a greater cultural impact than a performance in a darker stream.
It’s simply a double-edged sword of how Netflix does things. At their best, we all enjoy Tiger King at the same time. At worst, it might mean it feels rough when your favorite series unravels.