Streaming Data Shows Audiences Leary of Starting Shows Fearing Sudden Cancellation

Over the past year or so, it's become a bit of a meme to poke at the various streamers and their lack of patience when it comes to programming. While the network shows of yesteryear can run upwards of a dozen seasons with episode counts in the 20s, streamers have cut that episode order significantly. As of late, it's been increasingly common a show is sent to the chopping block after just two or three micro-sized seasons, with just eight or so episodes each year. Now, a new study says consumers are getting legitimately worried about subscribing to streamers because of their lack of loyalty to some of the shows.

According to a new study from YouGov (via Variety), nearly half of all survey respondents said they wait for show's to wrap their runs before watching due to the binge model first made popular by Netflix. Furthermore, 27-percent of respondents said that wait is due to fears over a potential cancellation and the associated cliffhangers involved. The survey says approximately a third of adults consider themselves watchers of at least three shows that had been cancelled since February 2022.

Why does Netflix cancel so many shows?

Unlike network television, ratings for streaming networks aren't as transparent given each platform controls the spin of its own numbers. Because of that, platforms like Netflix have claimed they've never canceled a "successful" show.

"We have never canceled a successful show. A lot of these shows were well-intended but talk to a very small audience on a very big budget," Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos told Bloomberg earlier this year. "The key to it is you have to be able to talk to a small audience on a small budget and a large audience at a large budget. If you do that well, you can do that forever."

Even then, the platform's subscriber numbers have dropped drastically in the wake of it announcing a crackdown on accounts that share passwords.

"We've landed on a thoughtful approach to monetize account sharing and we'll begin rolling this out more broadly starting in early 2023," the company previously said in a quarterly statement. "After listening to consumer feedback, we are going to offer the ability for borrowers to transfer their Netflix profile into their own account, and for sharers to manage their devices more easily and to create sub-accounts ('extra member'), if they want to pay for family or friends. In countries with our lower-priced ad-supported plan, we expect the profile transfer option for borrowers to be especially popular."