The Downfall of Netflix


Maddie Either

One of many blank TV screens as Netflix tightens its policy.

The downfall of Netflix: what happened exactly?

By Maddie Ethier

Everyone has heard of Netflix. It’s perhaps one of the most famous streaming services in the world, with around 230 million subscribers worldwide. That being said, this doesn’t mean its quality is top-tier. Ever since its founding in 1997, the streaming service has changed drastically.

A basic Netflix subscription costs $9.99 per month. Is this too much? Is it worth paying this subscription every month when the money could go elsewhere?

Originally, Netflix was a service where subscribers could order DVDs from their website online. The subscribers would receive the DVD within a couple of days in the mail and would have limited time before they were to return it in the envelope it was delivered to them in. This service consisted of a monthly subscription fee, but it was practically limitless as to what movies or TV shows were available on it.

It wasn’t until 2007 that Netflix began offering subscribers the option to stream entertainment from their homes via the internet. This was faster than ordering the DVD service but didn’t have as much to offer. Nevertheless, this overtook the DVD service and became dominant in the years that followed. People could easily access Netflix on their TVs and watch at their leisure, not having to worry about returning their DVDs by a certain date.

However, around 2021-2022, Netflix had lost much of its popularity, only resurfacing when shows like Stranger Things released new episodes. What went wrong?

In 2022 alone, Netflix lost around 1.2 million subscribers. Five years ago, this would have seemed unheard of. Netflix was the most popular streaming service in the world for quite a few years.

Netflix has blamed their subscribers loss on competition with other companies. A lot of companies, such as Disney and NBC, created their own streaming services, which drew a lot of attention away from Netflix. With the launch of Disney Plus in 2019 and Peacock in 2020, the popularity of Netflix was bound to decline.

The content offered on Netflix has also caused many people to cancel their subscriptions. The overwhelming majority of the content featured consists of “Netflix originals”, which are Netflix’s own TV shows and movie creations. While some of these shows are worth watching, they all seem to follow a similar algorithm as an attempt to draw in viewers. The lack of non-Netflix content has also contributed to a loss of subscribers.

Many other networks realized they could bring in more revenue by creating their own streaming service and adding  TV shows and movies that people love. HBO released HBO Max in 2020, and along with the launch of Disney Plus in 2019 and Peacock also in 2020, the decline of Netflix was further induced. 

HBO Max added the popular sitcom Friends with its launch. Its removal from Netflix led to an uproar among fans, causing some to go as far as canceling their subscription and signing up for HBO Max. Netflix also removed The Office, another insanely popular show, which again led to people getting rid of Netflix in favor of Peacock.

There has previously been some talk about inserting ads on Netflix, but this has yet to come to fruition. Many other streaming services have started implementing ads on their content, leading to confusion among users. Supposedly, paying for a subscription defeats the purpose of needing ads on the content. It’s simply a way for companies to make more revenue.

Netflix’s stock has been plummeting for quite some time. Mr. Owen Napolitano, a business teacher at Oakmont, discusses stocks and the stock market in his Personal Finance class. 

“The Netflix stock has struggled over the past year for many reasons. They have had a lot of competition with companies like Disney+, Paramount Plus, Peacock, Apple TV+ and Hulu which really had an effect on the performance of Netflix. In my opinion, I also feel that Netflix struggles to keep good content on their site,” Napolitano stated. Netflix’s stock has lowered by more than 20% in the past year.

The plummet seems to be caused mainly by the content. The content offered on Netflix and really any streaming service is crucial. Audiences are more willing to pay a monthly subscription for a streaming service that offers more widely known shows than content that might not appeal to them.

Mr. Timothy Caouette, an English teacher at Oakmont, feels as though this plummet is “kind of a market correction as opposed to a downfall”. He has observed the competition among streaming services and sees Netflix’s dominance in previous years as a monopoly. “Netflix pretty much had a monopoly on streaming for a few years. The one caveat is even though Netflix seems to be losing money quickly, they made so much before the streaming service wars,” Caouette stated.

To many, it seems as if Netflix was nothing more than a fad, doomed to fail eventually. While it’s not completely dead, the other streaming services seem to have taken over the popularity mainly due to the content offered and many companies’ desire for more revenue. 

One of the main things keeping Netflix alive is the popular drama Stranger Things. Whenever a new season is released, audiences flood Netflix and binge-watch for days straight. Although it’s a Netflix original, its popularity can’t be denied.

Are you happy with what Netflix has to offer, or do you want to see more?