Netflix used to be the undisputed king of streaming services. However, because of its success, other companies have decided to start their own streaming services, taking content away from Netflix. With so many streaming services, each one with its own content, viewers are spoiled for choice. Having multiple streaming services can be very expensive. As some people find it harder and harder to justify a Netflix subscription, due to price hikes and cancelling popular shows, could live content put them back on top?
Is Netflix Dying?
Netflix isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. They have reportedly lost subscribers in recent months though. After a record year in 2020, they have steadily lost subscribers throughout 2022. This boom is likely due to the pandemic when many people were forced inside and had lots of time to watch Netflix. As life slowly starts to return to some sort of normal, those subscribers would naturally drop off.
But some of those losses are long-term subscribers, losing around 200,000 in the first quarter of 2022 (increasing to 970,000 in Q2 of 2022). There could be several reasons why longtime subscribers have left. Like other streaming services like Disney+ and Paramount+, Netflix has lost content. Previously these companies would sell their content to Netflix but have now decided to host it on their own services instead. This has led to some big shows and movies that have left for other streaming homes. In response, Netflix has invested in its own original content and has found huge success with shows like Squid Game, Bridgerton, The Umbrella Academy and of course Stranger Things.
While these shows and others are incredibly popular, Netflix has a habit of cancelling its original shows. It’s almost a running joke that shows never last more than three seasons. Popular shows like Santa Clarita Diet, Daredevil and GLOW, were all big hitters for the streamer, but only lasted three seasons. In the case of GLOW, it actually was renewed, but the fourth season was cancelled due to the pandemic. Many viewers find it difficult to get invested in a show that is likely to be cancelled, and as shows viewers were invested in they have likely used the service less.
Could Live Content Help?
Netflix is reportedly looking at offering some live content. It would be for its unscripted and stand-up content. For stand-up, they would be able to live-stream them, potentially bringing back their “Netflix is a Joke” comedy festival. Perhaps this could extend beyond stand-up, with a show similar to Saturday Night Live. They could also host their post-season talk shows, such as Beyond Stranger Things and the various Afterparty specials. Hosting these live would make the show more of an event, with viewers wanting to finish the series before the afterparty. A live event would also mean that viewers could send in questions, with the potential to answer them on the show.
The other format that could benefit from live broadcasts is reality shows. Netflix has a variety of them, such as Selling Sunset and Too Hot to Handle. The main way these shows could benefit is from audience voting. Many reality shows that air on regular television feature votes for who stays in the competition or does a challenge. Netflix adopting this model could really benefit their shows, especially if it could be done via Netflix itself. Taking a queue from its interactive titles like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, could easily allow viewers to vote for their favourites and chart engagement.
Ironically, one of the selling points for Netflix was that it was on an individual’s schedule. Viewers no longer had to wait until their favourite show came on, they could just watch it, whole seasons at a time if they wished. Now things are almost coming full circle with Netflix looking at live content. With so many streaming services it is almost like having to buy various TV packages again. Who knows what the future holds?
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