The downfall of Netflix: not paying enough attention to content for black and brown people

Netflix has repeatedly proven that it doesn’t really know what good show are, otherwise why does it keep cancelling them? Photo: Instagram/Netflix
Netflix has repeatedly proven that it doesn’t really know what good show are, otherwise why does it keep cancelling them? Photo: Instagram/Netflix


Let’s be honest, one of the only things that made keeping a Netflix account worth it, was the uninterrupted viewing that almost felt surreal in this day and age.

And with the threat of adverts looming for the streaming platform, we might have to say goodbye to an era. But before you get too upset about the prospect of letting go, there are so many other reasons that have made the streaming app a dismal disappointment.

Although Netflix only came to prominence in the last decade or so, the app has been a thing for almost 30 years. It was founded in August 1997 by two entrepreneurs Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings, in California, US.

READ: Chicco Twala reflects on Brenda Fassie’s legacy, her upcoming Netflix film and future plans

Surprisingly the business model back then served as a movie rental service, where you would order a DVD for rental and receive it in the mail. To date however, the streaming platform has a whopping 214 million subscribers worldwide, with 337 000 of them in South Africa.

One thing Netflix has done brilliantly is move with the times. As the digital age evolved, the platform evolved too, giving us a plethora of documentaries, movies series and brilliant original, award-winning content.

A recent article by UK’s The Guardian said Netflix’s share price was heavily knocked after it announced a net loss of 200 000 subscribers globally earlier this year, which seems like just a drop in comparison to their overall subscribers.

However, the company is expected to lose a further 2 million in the next three months, coupled with its account share options, the Netflix subscriber pool, is dwindling.

It also lost 500 000 subscribers in Russia after that country invaded Ukraine in February.

But Netflix seems to have lost the plot. But where did this all begin?

  • Those dreaded romantic coming-of-age movies:

We get it Netflix, you know how it feels to be a teenager in love. Now, this wouldn’t be a problem if Netflix continued to push the coming-of-age envelope to new heights, such as the 2016 romantic drama, The Fundamentals of Caring.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case, and the only thing that Netflix has successfully given us is a regurgitation of bad romance films, that never seem to really capture what it means to be a teenager in the real world. I mean, what reason would ever be justifiable in giving us not one or two but three Kissing Booth films, that are horrible and objectively badly written?

  • They can’t seem to keep black and brown stories going:

Netflix has given us amazing shows, that admittedly have placed black and brown people in the forefront of their own stories. Unfortunately, these stories never seem to really get the chance to thrive, and somehow always get cancelled just after the first season.

Take the 2016 music drama, The Get Down, which brilliantly captured the evolution of hip-hop. It featured some of the most fresh and young voices such as, Justice Smith, Shameik Moore and Jaden Smith or Sense8, which was a revolutionary exploration of superpowers and the dynamics this would bring about for black, brown and queer people.

  • They can’t keep up with supply and demand:

Netflix has come under scrutiny many times. For years, there have been projection of Netflix’s downfall, and it seems that those days are finally upon us. If the plethora of bad shows and films were not enough, then the stats seem to really be getting Netflix where it hurts.

One big problem is that it seems to be paying more to acquire new subscribers, its marketing and streaming spending has risen to $581 per new subscriber. But the subscriber growth seems to be stagnant for the most part.

With almost an 18% drop in subscribers each year according to a 2019 article by Forbes, it seems we’ll soon just have the good old days to remember.


Janice Phiri  

Culture Writer

+27 11 713 9001
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
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