Gently down the stream: why Netflix’s decline proves that viewers will always love great telly

26 Jul • 5 min read

As lockdown took a vice grip on all of our lives during 2020, so did our obsession with subscription TV services. Netflix was on-hand to take full advantage of our thirst for binge-worthy-series.

With that said though, no one could have quite predicted the rate at which Netflix customers have abandoned ship since the turn of 2022. Of course, the cost of living crisis and the reopening of pretty much all aspects of our lives post-pandemic can act as mitigating factors. But if you told Netflix head honchos in 2020 that they’d lose 1 million customers in less than a couple of years, they’d call you crazy, right?

One vision

As with most phenomena, Netflix started out thriving in a lane of its own. As popularity grew though, so did the competition and it’s safe to say now that the subscription market is pretty saturated. And let’s face it, with competitors such as Disney plunging $33 billion into its content this year alone - Netflix was always going to struggle to maintain its dominant position.

Netflix bosses had actually predicted an even worse set of losses for this quarter. The 1 million subscribers lost was actually forecast to be 2 million. But, whichever way you look at it - it’s clear that good old fashioned traditional telly isn’t about to go extinct.

Do what they do best

Traditional telly has been used to fighting off competition. From Sky and Virgin through to the streaming giants. Each time, terrestrial broadcasters are faced with a barrage of doomsday predictions.

And yet. They’re still here. Why?

Because they make great telly. While Netflix and Amazon can throw bags of cash at The Rock and others like confetti, the likes of the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have to focus on quality not quantity.

The mainstream broadcasters work hard to find new talent, unearth incredible writing and invest in the right shows that will keep audiences gripped. They’ve been doing it since their inception and they’re not about to stop, no matter what the government, streaming services or others throw at them.

The future

For every new streaming subscription service fad, there’s a Great British Bake Off that continues to break viewing records year-on-year. Perhaps more tellingly though are shows such as Michaela Coel’s sensation, I May Destroy You.

Not only did the instant classic pull in huge viewing figures, as well as clean up at the awards - it showed bosses that shows could still flourish by falling into the classic mould by releasing episodes one-by-one instead of in a box set.

With more people cutting the cord from the likes of Sky and Virgin, plus the subscriptions services suffering losses - telly as we know it continues to feel like an old flame we always seem to go back to. May it continue to burn bright.