the pathfinder grew too big, can he come back?

Netflix with commercials? What’s next, the consumer bulletin? The blows that the streaming giant has received due to the news about falling subscriptions, which are projected well below expectations, have produced surprising consequences like this one, which may take effect in 2023. And it is not a sin to appeal to the commercials. YouTube has educated the video consumer to avoid advertising every few minutes, but it’s YouTube. By implementing the move, when it does, Netflix will land in new territory, the place it’s always parted ways with. It will be cheaper, yes.

How much things change. In the first decade of the century, the service began as a mail-order movie rental. So, he took a visionary helm at the internet and defined streaming (dissolving million-dollar businesses like Blockbuster Video). Netflix opened a path that only until this year all its contenders configure. But it was the first and it is the biggest, always supported by a reliable player. Thus he made streaming the norm. At that founding moment, when it was cemented and exciting, Netflix was driven by a promise of quality content, disruptive and playful, compared to what traditional television offered. And to this he added that it gave control to the consumer, who could marathon if he wanted to. This scenario, revolutionary in its nature of interaction with the consumer, was also attractive for creators and authors who had no way to track their riskiest bets on traditional television platforms.

Little more than a decade later, little remains of that pioneering spirit. Netflix today is perceived as the service to which a quarter of an hour passed, which is almost out of habit. It grew so large that it opted for the safe and massive formulas that it set out to break in the first place. And, along the way, it was increasingly guided by its algorithm and its metrics. As revealed Vanity Fair in a recent report on this phenomenon, they have more interference in productions than ever. Thus, creative freedom is a thing of the past for most creators you hire. Those with million-dollar multi-production contracts, like Shonda Rhimes, will keep it, but those kinds of deals will surely go in the fridge. This, although Rhimes has given them, among Bridgerton and Inventing Annaeverything they asked for: worldwide successful series and miniseries, dramas only a little more played than traditional television.

And so ever since he took that path, he hasn’t been able to get out of there. There seems to be no return either in the court of public perception or in that of his intention. On the one hand, it is no longer effective for him to return to that prestige programming that he lost. His strategy is massive and niche shows are canceled after two seasons without much regard for his fans. Netflix has also added a commitment to local programming, a strategy that Colombia was proud of on behalf of Pálpito, which fulfilled what was most expected of it: reaching a massive audience. Yes, it’s 2022, and the dad of streaming is competing with at least five more services, each with its strengths. In this scenario, other platforms took the baton of quality programming, which borders on the visual and philosophical challenge of the cinematographic: Apple TV + has joined HBO Max and, to a certain extent, Prime Video in generating curiosity in this category and present an interesting library to support it.

Netflix, in Colombia, is defined from the consumption of two aspects: the hits of the moment, either the squid game, The Money Heist, Hunch, Bridgerton, which give something to talk about for two weeks, at most, and are chained with the announcement of a new season; and Colombian telenovelas and serials, Ugly Betty, Passion of Hawks either The patron of evil. The top ten in the country does not lie. The same audience that already enjoys Caracol Televisión and Canal RCN now sets the standard. And if the service lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of the year and the projection is 2 million less by the end of 2022, it can be inferred that this audience that flees from Hunchwho does not see Betty, has decided to migrate. Even the marathon now seems more enemy than friend, which ratifies the disposable use of the series, unlike an HBO that delivers weekly. And in its icons, as it was game of Thrones and how is it today euphoria, generate worldwide conversation in real time. What will be discussed next month on Netflix? Of other paper houseKorean this time, because something remains to be squeezed out of those massive clicks it left the squid game.

The bald ones grew up, but perhaps because of the same chemistry that made them a success in the beginning, they will make the fourth (and last?) season of one of the originals that still drags some lasting passion on Netflix worthwhile.
The bald ones grew up, but perhaps because of the same chemistry that made them a success in the beginning, they will make the fourth (and last?) season of one of the originals that still drags some lasting passion on Netflix worthwhile. – Photo: netflix

Rewind, Reset

In 2015, when Netflix did not see the ceiling in its aspirations, SEMANA accompanied it to Mexico City, where it launched with great fanfare productions in various genres, such as the excellent family thriller Bloodlinesadult comedy Grace and Frankie (with Jane Fonda), the neopunk sci-fi adventure sense8 (by the Wachowski sisters) and even a comedy about soccer in Spanish, the Mexican Ravens Club. But, above all, the emerging service took the opportunity to praise House of Cards, the show that made him a prestigious option. It aimed to be the new HBO in programming quality, but in the world of the internet, and it had the tailwind in its favor: the technology, the times, the wallet and the credibility to bring together exciting talent.

By 2017, the consolidation became resounding with successes that crossed borders and interests. Between these, narcswho captivated the world with his polished workmanship in narrating the blockbuster story of Pablo Escobar, and the adoption of BlackMirror, which represented the validation of alternative audiences and the seal of authors in control. Everything, while he was pulling out a small series of two unknown brothers, inspired by the adventurous and fanciful sensibility of Steven Spielberg. Very creative in her scripts and in rendering budgets, stranger things, a production rejected by several networks, found a home on Netflix. Premiere it meant a wave of followers and fans of several generations, which promoted, along with the aforementioned offer and a content library that had no competition, the best moment you will ever live.

In the years to come, Netflix’s ambition knew no bounds, and the results backed every bold move. The ratings are unknown, as the company always delivered the numbers it wanted, but the growing numbers of subscribers propelled the ship. Keep breaking ceilings became essential.

In that order of ideas, he played both sides. He appealed to programming that resembled that of traditional television channels and moved his search for prestige to the cinema. In 2017, he launched his foray into auteur feature films, such as Alfonso Cuarón (Roma), Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), David Fincher (Mank), Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Pedro Almodovar (parallel mothers), among others. But he never forgot crispy productions starring Dwayne Johnson or Ryan Reynolds.

The bet for the Oscar for best film, which he sought against the official establishment of Hollywood, led by Spielberg, still did not mean the coveted statuette, of which he could not have been closer and has been a minimum favorite three times. There is always a stick in the wheel, like CODA in 2022, parasites either The Green Bookto crash the party. Bad luck? Innocent to think so, but not even winning that coveted prize would have made a difference. Because beyond its arrogance as a leader and its many bets, some admirable, others questionable, Netflix reached the ceiling of expectations, and there is no stranger things reverse that decision. The series premieres its fourth season very soon, and it has moved far from that cult series, recursive, without analogous special effects. Is it good or bad to grow so tall? It can be both, but people feel the change of spirit and act.

There is still a long way to go before someone knocks down the dad of streaming, but the novelty and freshness with which he grew up are not with him these days, while the results lead to greater chaos. Five years have passed since Netflix reached its peak of dominance and projection, when it set out to be everything to everyone, everywhere, and it succeeded for a moment. It launched better creative offers, better economic offers and the promise of being a creative paradise. It was, and, when everything became very big, the algorithm prevailed. Now the cuts have arrived, and reality will lead her to reinvent herself and, perhaps, rediscover herself.

Just as Eleven have been the many followers of programs like 'GLOW', 'The OA' and more, series that they have wanted and that they have seen go out after two or three seasons, by far.
Just as Eleven have been the many followers of programs like ‘GLOW’, ‘The OA’ and more, series that they have wanted and that they have seen go out after two or three seasons, by far. – Photo: netflix

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