The problem of fast streaming


A few weeks ago it was made public that Netflix had lost affiliates -and not a few- for the first time in 10 years. Specifically 200,000 subscribers during the first quarter of 2022.

This is not really a very serious loss, as studies indicate that one of the factors that have influenced these data has been the conflict in Ukraine: this has led to the loss of about 700,000 users. Without this one-off factor, the actual balance would have been 500,000 more members.

However, despite this exceptional situation, the platform’s trend indicates that it is reaching a point of exhaustion on the part of its audience.

Why has this situation arisen?

We will all agree that the explosion of Netflix, years ago, marked a before and after in the audiovisual sector.

At that moment the rules of the game changed, and an alternative appeared -this time a real one- to the television companies; up to that moment the latter were the ones who managed the whole business, but Netflix meant a new way of broadcasting and selling television products that moved away from what had been established during the last decades. Now the viewer had much more choice.

That revolution has endured to this day.

But it has evolved. For the worse. Much worse.

Let’s go back to the moment when Netflix reached the top and knew it would not be dethroned for a long time. With the wind at its back in an overwhelming way, the platform decided it was time to adjust its strategies without the fear that they were going to make it lose the dominance of the streaming sector.

And that was when it had the incredible idea of broadcasting a series in one go: on the day of the premiere, all the episodes were uploaded on the platform, so that if the user felt like it, he could watch it in its entirety. Marathons began sleepless nights, the imperious need to put another chapter more because the previous one left a cliffhanger impossible to bear.

Series began to appear like mushrooms. Everywhere, at all hours. You would wake up and in the catalog, you would find half a dozen -or more- new productions. Over the years, they overlapped with the new seasons of the star series, so the number of choices to be made multiplied almost exponentially.

I remember, by way of anecdote, that I spent part of the day and a whole night awake watching the 1st season of Lost on DVD, but those were different times…

I’m not an expert in marketing or audiovisual content, but I must not be the only one to whom this strategy doesn’t seem the right one. However, at first, it worked and Netflix continued to grow. Other platforms appeared to compete -Prime VideoHBO, or Disney+ among others- and some adopted similar strategies, while others did not.

Those that did not do so respected the traditional format of TV series: one episode per week.

But Netflix continued to bet -as a general rule- on the fast streaming format: fast consumption of products. You had the complete series, watched it in hours or a few days, and jumped to another series.
One of the effects, which a priori could seem positive, was that many more different products were consumed, since the physical time dedicated to a series was less, and therefore you could concentrate more productions in the calendar because you were sure that the user would not delay in its consumption.

More quantity in less time. That sounds like the perfect equation, right? Well, it isn’t. As I said above, the evolution of this strategy has been getting worse.

The biggest indication of this statement is the option that Netflix implemented not too long ago: the random playback of one of its products. This fact evidences that the platform’s catalog is so exaggerated that the user is not able to make a choice and is blocked.

Why does such an extensive catalog exist? Because in order to maintain such an amount of production -to follow the rule of more products in less time- the platform has not been able to avoid a notable drop in the quality of its series and in the end they all have too many similarities between them.

This is the great drama: a huge amount of very low-quality products that only discredit the platform. It is not acceptable to watch so many titles and three-quarters of them -in my humble opinion- are so bad that they could be classified as trash.

What happens to Netflix is extensible to the rest of the platforms, but the proportion is much lower.

From this combination of quantity and quality comes a good part of the apparent weariness of users, some of whom have begun to choose other platforms that dose their products over time. In fact, the data show that the only platform that has seen its growth rate decrease is Netflix.

Dosing over time has another very important effect: its visibility on social networks, being a topic of discussion for a much longer period of time.
Now it seems that they are beginning to change their approaches, although without changing them completely: Netflix offers the series divided into two parts, two packages of episodes that are broadcast separately in time.

From my point of view, this is a horrible option because you mutilate the series and still don’t get enough public exposure. For example, recently the first part of Stranger Things season 4 was released: for a few days there was a lot written about it on Twitter, but a week later -when everybody has already seen it and commented on it- it has hardly any impact on the big data. On the other hand, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Disney+) will be a trending topic for more than a month.

That’s the difference. That’s Netflix’s big mistake. And if it does not change this strategy, it will continue to lose users. Losses that will no longer be due to external contexts, but to a lousy business strategy.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post