Netflix Head Says Its Seemingly-High Series Cancel Rate is the ‘Industry Standard’

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Recently, Netflix has been in the news for canceling what seems to be a lot of its originals before even giving them the shot of a second season. But the streamer’s CEO Ted Sarandos and head of global TV Bela Bajaria are defending their ax-rate saying it’s normal for today’s streaming climate.

“We actually have a renewal rate of 67%, which is [the] industry standard,” Bajaria said.  “You have to look at ‘The Crown,’ with season four launching now, ‘Grace & Frankie’ and ‘The Ranch,’ we’ve had long running shows and we’re always going to have a mix that are great to be told in a limited series form and shows that go on for multiple seasons.”

Fans were disappointed when Netflix canceled its series Away, the Hilary Swank-starring space drama that apparently just wasn’t cutting it, despite it being on Netflix’s own top ten list at one point. It even ranked No. 2 on the Nielsen ratings for the first week after its release at the beginning of September.

This year alone, the streamer has also scrapped GLOW, I Am Not Okay With This, Away and The Society, Dark Crystal, Bojack Horseman, and Teenage Bounty Hunters, just to name a few.

“It’s always painful to cancel a show and nobody wants to do that,” Bajaria said. “We also do make a large amount of first season shows, which sometimes feels that we have more first season cancellations, but if you look at the renewal rate, it’s really strong.”

Being in the limelight, Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos says the streamer gets a lot of attention whenever it cancels a show which makes it look disproportionate compared to other streaming services. The CEO says the idea of a long-running show in hopes for syndication is an old way of doing things.

“It seems like in this new age of television, the business model is a little different,’ Sarandos says. “The things that marked success prior to Netflix and OTT really had been getting to syndication, that was the goal and anything that didn’t get to 100 episodes or past the four seasons didn’t feel like a success, whereas I think many shows can be a success for being exactly what they are and you could tell that story in two seasons or one season or five seasons.” 

Netflix recently renewed its rom-com Emily in Paris for a second season and hit the greenlight on Season 3 for its superhero drama The Umbrella Academy which are both set to launch next year.

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