There’s been a lot of talk about Netflix losing subscriptions and in danger of dying lately. This strikes me as clickbait to get more reads for articles. Look! Disney+ is going to hit Netflix with its unstoppable library of Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar! Look out! HBO Max is coming with the full arsenal of HBO and Warner Brothers content! Oh, noes! Netflix is losing Friends and The Office, the most popular shows on the service! Doom! Decline! Entropy! How far the mighty have fallen! Netflix might deserve much of the criticism. They raised the subscription fee which drove some people to drop out.
They keep canceling beloved shows prematurely. They’re picking up or producing terrible movies. They’ve borrowed billions in debt for their productions which must surely doom them.
There’s a Bigger Picture Here
A lot of this doomsaying is rather short-sighted. Much of it seems to assume that Netflix will die just because it’s losing Friends. You’d think it’s the millions of kids binging Friends as some kind to get them through the horrors of the world that are keeping Netflix alive. This is also an oddly American-centric view. Netflix is still bigger than that.
The international part of Netflix is being ignored here. I don’t watch Friends. I’m keeping Netflix because it offers programming from shows no US TV channel broadcasts. No other TV network would produce shows as odd and unique as Russian Doll, The Santa Clarita Diet, The OA, Umbrella Academy, Stranger Things, to name a few.
In the last few years, romantic comedies stopped dominating the box office in US theatres. Netflix has become the new home for quirky, unique romantic comedies like Set It Up, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, The Kissing Booth, Sierra Burgess is a Loser and Always Be My Maybe.
The popularity of these movies made Lana Condor and Noah Centineo stars. Ally Wong became a star on Netflix from her comedy specials and she used that leverage to get Always Be My Maybe produced. Netflix featured Asian-American leads without a fuss while the rest of Hollywood is now awakening to Asian-American representation.
For viewers who want more than just US shows, the sheer volume of shows from virtually every country in every genre makes the streamer a valuable resource. They want to be in every country, and with subscribers in India, Europe, and Asia, they’re going to be around for a long time.