The real reason why Netflix cancels shows

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: April 21, 2023 (Last updated: May 11, 2024)
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What's coming to Netflix in October 2022

It’s an all too common occurrence. You’re looking forward to the next season of your new favourite show to be released on Netflix and get the devastating news: the show has been cancelled. It seems no matter how dedicated the fanbase, no show is safe from cancellation. While this does seem to happen across streaming services, Netflix in particular has built a reputation. Fans have even started cancelling their subscriptions to the service in protest. 

Although it seems random, there are a few reasons why Netflix have been cancelling popular shows after only a couple of seasons. Read on to discover the full story behind Netflix cancelling shows.

Audience metrics

The main reason that appears to be behind Netflix cancelling so many shows is down to audience metrics. Unlike traditional TV, Netflix can take a much more detailed look at their users’ behaviour. While shows may appear popular due to a big online presence, all may not be quite what it seems.  

Although many shows may get big viewership numbers to begin with, rumours have been circulating that bosses at Netflix put much more of an emphasis on the ‘completion rate’ of a show when deciding whether it should continue. This figure is the percentage of an audience that starts watching a show and actually finishes it. 

Although shows may appear popular online, this popularity can be artificially inflated by a small number of more dedicated fans. Netflix’s main aim is to keep people subscribed to the platform, so they need as many people watching as possible. If most people are not managing to finish a show, then in their eyes it may not be worth renewing. 

Costs

The past few years have seen costs rising in all industries, including TV and film production. With this being an expensive industry to begin with, there’s no doubt that finances will influence Netflix cancelling shows.

With shows that are expensive to film, Netflix may look at the completion rate to decide if the show is a good investment. Even if a show has an extremely dedicated fanbase, if it is a smaller audience, the series may become one of Netflix’s cancelled shows.

Business Strategy

Netflix bosses know that they need to appeal to as many people as possible to maximise subscriber numbers. This means reaching fans of a variety of genres from comedy and romance to sci-fi and horror. 

There may be a number of successful anime shows on at one time, but if these are taking up the budget that could be spent on a show in a more popular genre, one may get cancelled. This can happen if a rival streaming service begins dominating a certain genre. If Netflix feels they are losing market share in a particular genre, they may re-evaluate what they are offering.

Netflix cancelled shows 2023

Throughout 2023, Netflix has already cancelled a string of shows, upsetting fans across the globe. Despite the disappointment, the Netflix cancelled show list keeps growing. In 2023 so far the streaming giant has cancelled shows including 1899, Inside Job and The Chair. Unfortunately for fans of these shows, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be another season any time soon.

There are a number of other shows reportedly at risk of being cancelled by the platform’s top executives. These include Agent Elvis, Master of None and Super Crooks among others. In theory though, any show could get cancelled if the top bosses don’t think it’s doing well enough.

Why did Netflix cancel 1899?

Rumours are circulating that 1899 was one of the shows cancelled by Netflix due to a bad completion rate. It appears that only around 30% of those who started watching the show ended up finishing it. Netflix seemingly decided that this was not enough of the audience to continue investing in the show.

Why did Netflix cancel Fate of the Winx Saga?

While the official reason was not released, it seems as though Netflix cancelled Fate of the Winx Saga because viewer numbers were not as high as expected. It’s likely the completion rate will have also influenced their decision. The show also reportedly had a relatively high budget for special effects. This makes it difficult to justify the show continuing if there are not enough dedicated fans. 

Industry insights with Ready Steady Cut

Although Netflix may keep cancelling shows, you can rely on us at Ready Steady Cut to keep producing the content you’ve come to expect. Whatever Netflix and the other streaming services do release, we will give you our insights. Be it reviews on the latest TV show or film suggestions based on different movies, we’ve got you covered.

Further reading

Features, Netflix, RSC Originals, Streaming Service