The problem with Netflix isn’t wokeness

If you’ve ventured onto the internet in the past week, you’ll know Netflix’s talk is the flavor of the month.

News of the company’s massive subscriber losses sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry, many of them – including those on Wall Street – heralding the end of Netflix’s decade-long reign as that supreme streaming service.

Netflix itself has blamed the slowdown on a handful of factors, including its failure (and subsequent need) to both crack down on password sharing and diversify its subscription packages in light of competition. increased from rival platforms like Disney Plus and HBO Max – but social media commentators have thrown their own reasoning into the mix.

According to some, Netflix has been the victim of a so-called revival – or, in other words, a supposed over-commitment to politicized programming. Critics lament the streamer’s peddling of forced diversity, its penchant for social justice, and the uniformly “boring” new movies and TV shows. As Tesla CEO (and new Twitter owner) Elon Musk said in a recent tweet: “Waking Mind Virus is making Netflix unreachable.”

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Naturally, Musk’s more than 83 million Twitter followers responded accordingly. As of this writing, his tweet has garnered over 300,000 likes, with many users echoing his criticism of the streamer’s “obvious” social and political agenda in a long series of replies.

“You mean you don’t like Viking shows where the greatest/baddest warrior is female (eye-roll — no, those didn’t actually exist); or horror movies that actually turn out to be social justice commentary; or shows that make “cute” references to the devil (Sabrina)?” an account replied sarcastically.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while. Everything recent on Netflix is ​​just propaganda. It’s unwatchable at this point,” another wrote (of course, this list of new “unassailable” Netflix content has to include its recent documentary about Musk and his space program, right?).

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The thing is, a few people aren’t happy with Netflix and its uniquely politicized approach to modern storytelling. Even if it doesn’t exist.

Awake ≠ broken

Let’s be clear: Netflix Is have a content problem. For starters, too many of his recent movies and TV series have been caught in the “style over substance” trap.

Genuinely interesting shows like Squid Game and Stranger Things have outnumbered melodramatic soap operas dressed in HBO-quality clothes (looking at you, Anatomy of a Scandal), while many of the streamer’s recent movie offerings (consider the star-studded void from Don’t Look Up) also failed to live up to their billing.

Netflix has also become a dumb reality TV cesspool. The constant addition of series in the Sexy Beasts and Is It Cake? mold suggests that the company’s $14 billion annual content budget no longer provides the quality assurance we once thought. And to make matters worse, these trashy, overproduced game shows seem less likely to hit the chopping block than many of the truly genre-pushing projects that Netflix sometimes strikes gold with (like Archive 81, Sense8, and The OA all fell victim to streamer’s now infamous cancel culture in recent years).

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Following news of the company’s subscriber losses, CEO Ted Hastings admitted the need to improve the quality of the platform’s programming – a process that has already begun with the scrapping of several upcoming projects. – although Netflix still has a long way to go if it hopes to compete with the IP-heavy offerings of its burgeoning rivals.

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But none of the above is a consequence of awakening. Is Netflix wiser than Disney Plus or HBO Max? The latest Marvel films and TV shows supporting the former have also been panned by the same critics, while two of the latter’s most popular series – Euphoria and Our Flag Means Death – revolve around gay teenagers and gay pirates respectively.

Heck, the most popular English-language Netflix show of all time, Bridgerton, is one standard-bearer for awakening if there ever was one (and so is the equally brilliant Sex Education).

So it’s abundantly clear that Netflix hasn’t suffered because of a penchant for political correctness – and even if it had, we wouldn’t see its biggest rivals enjoying fishing in the same way. pond filled with clock.

Level the playing field

Instead, the reasons for Netflix’s woes are much more obvious.

Just three years ago, the streamer was the world’s leading on-demand entertainment platform, featuring only Amazon’s Prime Video service for the enterprise (and, by extension, the competition). In 2022, however, this competition has increased tenfold. The aggressive expansion of IP-heavy Disney Plus and HBO Max is well documented – the former is expected to overtake Netflix for subscriber numbers by 2024 – but Apple TV Plus, Hulu, Showtime and Paramount Plus have also begun to eat in netflix pie.

With such a wealth of options across the board, it’s no wonder Netflix no longer offers the same unique subscriber appeal it once did. Consider the most talked about TV shows of the past year: Squid Game and Bridgerton notwithstanding, the likes of Euphoria, Yellowjackets, The Mandalorian, Succession and Severance have dominated online conversation. Sure, Netflix still has its golden geese – but the platform has never faced such high-quality competition in its decade as streaming kings.

Moreover, this competition intensified as Netflix began to flirt with unwanted price increases for its customers around the world. As the cost of living continues to rise and interest in streaming dwindles following the steady lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, consumers have proven unwilling to sit back and accept higher tariffs. for lower quality products.

Netflix has expressed plans to mitigate these price increases by offering a wider range of subscription options – which should include a cheaper, ad-supported tier similar to what’s already available on HBO Max – but the internet has misinterpreted this strategy as yet another proof of the streamer’s downfall (“If I see ads on Netflix, I cancel,” seems to be the current Twitter Consensus).

For Netflix to regain its status, it will then have to fight against factors beyond its control. Competition from rival streamers will only increase in the coming years, and business leaders need to put together an attractive range of bespoke subscription packages – unlike any others available elsewhere – to rebuild customer trust in the once indomitable Netflix machine.

Yes, the content on the platform needs to improve – but it certainly doesn’t need to become less awake.

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