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Former Netflix Exec Gets Candid About Controversial Cancellation 4 Years Later-TGN

Summary

  • Former Netflix executive Cindy Holland explains why The OA was cancelled: it was too costly to continue and unsustainable as an ongoing project.
  • The cancellation of The OA marked a major shift in Netflix’s strategy and the flaws in streaming business models.
  • Netflix’s emphasis on original content and quantity over quality changed after the cancellation, as they started focusing on cost-cutting efforts.


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Former Netflix executive Cindy Holland addresses why the streamer cancelled the hit series The OA after two seasons. The OA follows the mystery of Prairie Johnson (Brit Marling), a young blind woman who goes missing and turns up seven years later with restored vision and a new name, the OA. The show was well-received, with some magazines and news outlets labeling it the best series of all time. In 2019, Netflix did not renew The OA for season 3, which sparked intense viewer reactions. Even after four years, it remains one of Netflix’s most perplexing TV show cancellations.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Holland explained why Netflix cancelled The OA despite the season 2 cliffhanger ending, revealing that it was too costly to continue. She also believes the cancellation was more significant than other shows cut due to high budgets, but she felt it signified a major shift in Netflix’s strategy. Check out her statement below:

It had scope and ambition and was, by design, not the lowest-budget project around. It became clear that it was going to be unsustainable as an ongoing project in that form at Netflix at the time, and it was a fairly sad experience for all of us, including the audience.

The space had been disrupted, a bunch of creativity and market energy had rushed into that space. But now it was going to calcify or solidify into something that in many ways was a broken business model and much worse than what had been before.


How Did Netflix Change After The OA?

Brit Marling Prairie Johnson The OA

Holland has a cynical view of the direction that streaming took after The OA‘s cancellation. It can’t be denied that the cancellation came at a particularly turbulent time in the industry, as it was announced just months before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and drastically changed the film and TV realms. When the pandemic occurred, it placed a new emphasis on streaming as a necessity arose for viewers to enjoy new shows and movies from the comfort of their homes rather than going to the theater. Hence, streamers started experiencing significant gains, acquiring more films, and moving towards bigger productions.

Netflix, in particular, started emphasizing original content and expanding its volume. At one point, it aimed to release 50 new movies a year. However, Netflix’s pandemic success wouldn’t last, as it quickly started losing gains made during the pandemic and lost subscribers. Soon, the streamer was forced to change its strategy again. It doubled down on password sharing, introduced ad tiers, shifted its focus to quality over quantity, and started cancelling many shows.

Netflix reportedly heavily factors completion rates into show cancellations. Essentially, if the majority of viewers are not completing the show, it is more likely to get cancelled.

The OA‘s cancellation seemed to foreshadow Netflix’s switch from an ambitious streamer prioritizing creativity and original content to a streamer more conscious of cost-cutting efforts, even if that means sacrificing popular and ambitious projects or some of the features viewers appreciated most. Perhaps The OA‘s shocking cancellation was an indication of the flaws in streamers’ business models.

Source: THR

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