Since the beginning of this year, Netflix’s future has been on shaky ground, with canceled show piling up and the competition rising. The Streaming Wars are starting to seriously ramp up with more and more companies planning on launching their own services. Netflix, who previously only really had to worry about Hulu in the past, now faces competition from their former allies such as Disney and WarnerMedia. With Netflix losing a massive chunk of content by the end of the year and the service making questionable decisions, it’s caused many to evaluate whether Netflix is even still worth subscribing to at this point.
Netflix hasn’t been making the best decisions as of late. In late December, it was revealed that Netflix struck a deal with WarnerMedia to keep the iconic sitcom Friends on their service for another year for a staggering $100 million after a massive fan uproar about the show’s pending removal.
Back in February, I wrote about how this deal with WarnerMedia wasn’t worth it in the end, especially since it’s now been confirmed that Friends will be off Netflix once the deal expires for WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service. After the Friends deal, Netflix raised its prices 18%, the highest in the company’s history.
We also saw Netflix cancel a multitude of their original shows, including Friends From College and most recently the incredibly popular and acclaimed series One Day At A Time and Santa Clarita Diet, along with the rest of the MCU shows including Jessica Jones and The Punisher. Although other networks are interested in picking up some of these shows, such as CBS All Access, who are interested in reviving One Day At A Time, Netflix’s contracts prevent other networks from picking up their canceled shows for at least two years.
Aside from Netflix’s bad decisions as of late, the service is also about to lose a lot of content. As we’ve known for a while, Disney will be removing all of their content, including all of Fox’s content, off Netflix in November once their highly anticipated streaming service Disney+ launches. WarnerMedia will also likely be pulling their content off Netflix as well as they’re planning on launching their own streaming service around the same time as Disney’s. DreamWorks Animation will also be pulling some of their content from Netflix, as they’ve signed an exclusive streaming deal with their rival Hulu. And to make matters worse, Netflix will likely lose streaming rights to The Office, their most popular show, in 2021 once NBC launches their own streaming service.
With Disney, Fox, Warner, and DreamWorks Animation’s content, what will Netflix still have at that point? Basically only their originals left. And fans of The Office have been reacting similarly to fans of Friends when news broke about the show’s eventual removal. Many are upset and threatening to cancel their memberships.
But is Netflix is still worth keeping in the end? For me personally, I’m torn. I’m certainly not happy with the decisions Netflix has made so far. As I stated in my piece back in February, I thought the Friends deal was completely unnecessary and they paid way too much for a show that they didn’t own, especially since it will leave the service given the inviability of WarnerMedia’ launching their own.
I wasn’t happy about the price increase and the multitude of Netflix originals being canceled, most notably One Day At A Time. Both when the show was in danger of cancellation and when it was eventually canceled, there were massive campaigns for the show via social media, which definitely contradicted Netflix’s claim that not enough people watched the show.
Despite Netflix’s questionable decisions, and their growing graveyard of canceled originals, certain groups shouldn’t give up on the streaming service just yet. Netflix losing all this content might be a blessing in disguise for them. With having nearly all of their acquired content gone, Netflix will, hopefully, prioritize their originals and give themselves time to actually market their shows properly, slowly solving their marketing problem, and not being so trigger happy when it comes to canceling their shows. There won’t be any more outcries that cause Netflix to spend a massive amount of money to save an acquired show because of all popular like Friends or The Office because they’ll be gone by then.
It’s important for Netflix to primarily focus on original content because it’s all they’re going to have left and because their originals are still continuing to grow in popularity. Deadline reported back in March that for the first time ever, Netflix’s original series out-preformed their acquired content. With originals like On My Block, The Umbrella Academy, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and others becoming massive hits with audiences, Netflix might be alright in the end, even with the fear that some of our favorite shows will be canceled.
There’s also a lot of exciting original content coming to Netflix. Martin Scorsese’s new film The Irishman will be premiering sometime this year. Netflix recently has also been producing a lot of original horror and content as of late. Netflix will be premiering the new season of their horror anthology series Slasher entitled Slasher: Solstice on May 23rd. They also have original horror films in the works such as The Perfection and Eli. For Sci-Fi fans, Netflix is premiering a new series in May called The Society, as well as original films such as See You Yesterday, produced by Spike Lee, and I Am Mother coming later this year.
Animation fans, like myself, should be excited to see what Netflix’s new in-house animation studio Netflix Animation comes up with, as they have a lot of notable names working over there. Alex Hirsch, the creator of Gravity Falls, is executive producing a new show called Inside Job, created by Gravity Falls crew member Shion Takeuchi who also has a multi-year deal with Netflix. Craig McCracken, creator of The Powerpuff Girls, Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends, and Wander Over Yonder, is creating a new series called Kid Cosmic over at the service, and also Jorge Gutierrez, the co-creator of El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera and the director of The Book Of Life is creating a new show called Maya and the Three. All of these projects sound incredibly promising.
Despite Netflix’s less than stellar choices these last few months and losing a plethora of content, is the service still worth keeping in the end? Well, it really comes down to what you like. If you watch Netflix for new and original things in comedy, horror, sci-fi, or drama then Netflix is probably worth keeping. If you watch Netflix for its animated content, it’s definitely worth keeping.
But, If you watch Netflix to simply watch to keep up with network TV, you should probably start looking into Hulu sooner rather than later and the rest of streaming services that are about to launch to this Netflix exodus. That last bit actually brings us to another question: Are there going to be too many streaming services? But that’s another question for another time.