It was a year ago: Netflix took a series of measures to avoid the bleeding of subscribers that hit it for the first time. One of the most discussed measures at the time was the ban on sharing accounts. Twelve months later, the ban has taken effect almost everywhere in the world, and it’s time to ask yourself: has Netflix fixed your problem?
The context. Netflix announced in the spring of 2022 the brutal loss of subscribers in the first quarter of the year: 200,000 fewer customers, which translated into a 25% stock market collapse. His immediate reaction was to implement two urgent measures, which had been rumored for some time: announce plans for cheaper subscriptions and with advertising and prohibit sharing accounts outside the same address.
the real problem. An analysis of what could have led to this situation led us to a couple of indisputable realities. First, Netflix premiered a lot: in 2020 they were around 79 movies a month, an amount that has not decreased in the slightest, and the feeling that they gave preference to quantity over quality was beginning to spread. The arrival, still recent, of competitors like Disney +, plagued the offers of attractive content, and this was noticeable in the number of subscribers.
Six genres per person. Let’s remember the time when Netflix’s advertising muscle was based on “we release non-stop, products for everyone.” Even today that continues to be part of his strategy. Just a couple of weeks ago, Bela Bajaria, head of the company’s Head of Content, spoke in her presentation of news for advertisers about a piece of information that justified this strategy. According to Bajaria, subscribers “watch, on average, six different genres a month.” In other words, the platform wants to continue opting for the diversification of genres and the avalanche of options.
The tactic of superserving. This is how Bajaria herself calls this content saturation strategy. But he explicitly acknowledges that “quality (…) is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder”, which is a way of relativizing the eternal problem: not all products have a recognizable and universal quality. That is to say, not all the series are like ‘Stranger Things’ or ‘The Bridgertons’, which beyond particular tastes, all viewers can agree that they have a remarkable quality.
Without data there is no evidence. This situation has worsened a couple of years ago, when Netflix stopped providing audience data (unfortunately adding to a strategy that is quite widespread in streaming), to start talking about its successes only using the comparative criteria of the number of hours watched. of a series during its first month on the air, it was transmitting that its contents must be seen and compared under another prism: that of comparison with each other, in an ecosystem that feeds back on itself. The only way to talk about Netflix series is in comparison to other Netflix series.
A review of the data. If we review the global Top 10 of the platform and compare it with the scores on aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes, we are going to get very uneven results. There are from public successes that have sunk for critics, such as ‘2 hearts’, to films that have been lukewarmly received, such as ‘The Mother’, going through films that went unnoticed at the time and now find a lackluster second life on the platform, like ‘The Son’ or ‘The Great Wall’. With the series, the same: reality shows of questionable quality such as ‘Selling Sunset’ and productions that are destined for short-term success and quick oblivion, such as ‘Fubar’.
Some hits. Of course, a platform of Netflix’s musculature is not eternally submerged in an absolute hole. He currently has series that are being a critical and public success, such as ‘Kisses, Kitty’, ‘Queen Charlotte’ (although far from the series that gave rise to it) or movies like ‘Disconnected’. However, there is a feeling that many of them, even the well-received ones, are somewhat lackluster products, far from the significance that series from their competitors may have, such as the recently concluded ‘Succession’ on HBO or ‘Ted Lasso’ on Apple. TV+. Netflix has not entered the global conversation with a series like ‘The Squid Game’ for a long time. And perhaps that’s what you should be looking for, rather than a continual supply of titles that fly under the radar.
In Xataka | Streaming is drowning: almost all platforms have announced losses at the start of 2023