Netflix Cancellations: Who’s Cancelling Who?

In light of new competitors, the streaming giant’s future becomes questionable.


Jiada Valenza

Davide Hallac ‘20 remains loyal to Netflix despite new and flashy competition.

This past Independence Day, many traded in fireworks for remotes, barbecues for popcorn, and the founding fathers for a gang of outcasted middle schoolers. Although the trade-off may appear unimpressive, the internet spent nearly two years anticipating this seemingly trivial exchange. The long-awaited Season 3 of Stranger Things had arrived, only available in one place: Netflix. 

Netflix has witnessed major success, not only from original programs such as Stranger Things, but also from their annual onslaught of summer romance films, including the 2018 hit To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. It has succeeded in attracting mass audiences from its exclusive content, both produced and purchased by the company. These elements which make the platform unique have propelled it to being the most subscribed streaming service, accounting for nearly 25% of all subscribers across over 100 streaming services available. With formidable competition ahead, however, as well as the removal of many hit shows from Netflix’s line up of nearly 6,500 titles, the streaming giant’s future is rather questionable.

The most watched show on Netflix, according to a study done by Vox, is the 2005 sitcom, The Office, drawing in almost a tenth of all streams on the platform. Despite being a fan favorite, by 2021 fans will have to say goodbye to the show leaving many wondering: why would Netflix get rid of its most successful program? 

In actuality, Netflix did not choose to cancel The Office – it was forced to relinquish the title. In a private bidding in early 2019, Netflix lost the series to the NBC Universal Group for $500 million. The fate of the show was revealed in a tweet from Netflix on June 25, 2019, “We’re sad that NBC has decided to take The Office back for its own streaming platform — but members can binge watch the show to their hearts’ content ad-free on Netflix until January 2021.” NBC’s new streaming service, titled “Peacock,” will debut in spring 2020 – in time for viewers to stream the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. 

The removal of The Office alone can be a major deciding factor in whether or not Netflix will lose subscribers to new platforms. In response to the change Davide Hallac ‘20, president of the Film Production Club, said, “Given that Friends and The Office are apparently being taken off Netflix in a year or so, I do feel like that will seriously limit my usage of the service. Still Netflix tends to add as much as they take away, so I don’t think I’ll fully stop using it.” 

“With Netflix people always have new movies and shows to watch, leaving them better entertained than other streaming services,” said Desiree Caceres ’21. 

According to a study done by Forbes, thirty-seven titles were added to Netflix in July 2019 alone. These figures do not include the release of new seasons for shows already on Netflix, such as the aforementioned Season 3 of Stranger Things. To some viewers, these new additions to Netflix seem like attempts at replacing their beloved programs, although Desiree Caceres ’21 viewed this constant rotation of shows differently. “With Netflix,” said Caceres, “people always have new movies and shows to watch, leaving them better entertained than other streaming services.” 

What makes many of Netflix’s new competitors formidable is the selections they boast. Disney + is set to premier the reboot of the popular 2006-2008 movie franchise, High School Musical, HBO Max (owned by the Warner Brothers Company) will be pulling Friends from Netflix by 2020, and Peacock will be the new home of The Office by 2021. These programs are already playing a major part in the marketing strategies of these companies, using staples of American television to draw in audiences. Despite this, very little is known about the streaming services, including whether or not they will follow Netflix’s constant rotation of programs. Furthermore, there are certain elements that Netflix has that, regardless of all of the money put in, simply cannot be emulated.

“I feel like Netflix is so popular because many people use the platform, which is kind of like a cycle,” said Afia Begum ’21. “From personal experience, I only started watching Netflix after many of my friends were watching Netflix, and they encouraged me to watch shows that were only available on Netflix.” The fan base that Netflix has acquired in its twenty-two years plays a major role in its appeal to the company. Not only can subscribers recommend the streaming service to others, as was the case with Begum, but pre-existing subscribers can connect over shows exclusively on Netflix such as Stranger Things. The communities which Netflix creates is key in its success, drawing in loyal fans to the platform while also attracting others through the use of social media. 

The streaming giant has offered something that many cannot put a finger on, yet continue to come back to one month after the next. As glamorous as the competition may seem, Netflix has a secure home here at Bronx Science–for now.