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Netflix Keeps Growing, But Have They Sacrificed Quality for Quantity?

A world-wide phenomenon for the last 12 years, growing bigger every passing second. Netflix is firmly cemented as the top streaming option for American families. What once was a company laughed at by Blockbuster is now releasing thousands of hours of new content every year, grossing over $11 Billion in 2017 alone.

Home of some of the highest-rated TV shows of all time, Netflix shows no sign of slowing down over the next few years, pledging to spend $3-4 Billion in investments alone by the end of 2018.

But are these investments worth it?

There was a time when a new original series on Netflix was an exciting announcement. Shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Hemlock Grove were all examples of fantastic television and gripping storytelling. With their surprising success, Netflix greenlit 9 original shows over the next two years, hitting on some and missing on others.

Today, there are over 3 dozen original shows streaming on the service, with more and more getting greenlit every year. But is that kind of quantity a good thing?

According to MetaCritic, a very real decline in quality is occurring over at the most popular streaming television network. With the first three shows averaging a 74 rating from MetaCritic, they have never been able to reach that same success.

In drama alone, the next six shows dropped 4 points to a 70 rating, before finishing off 2017 and 2018 with a dismal 61 rating that included shows like Gypsy (45 rating) and Lost in Space (58 rating). While there were some gems hidden in the stack of new shows (like Stranger Things and A Series of Unfortunate Events) the downward trend is very real.

When looking at the comedy section, it becomes even more apparent. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt started strong and continues to rate well over 75 points on MetaCritic. But after the first 5 comedy shows debut on Netflix to strong ratings, SIX of the next ten shows failed to rate over 70, including the nostalgia-filled but substance-lacked Fuller House and the formulaic sitcom, The Ranch.

Moreso, the last 7 comedy shows to premier on Netflix average a mere 62 rating, the lowest of any block since the network began releasing original content.

Is this trend sustainable? Most subscribers started their Netflix subscription to watch classic shows and movies, which the service is quickly removing due to expense and expiring rights. When House of Cards premiered, subscriptions increased to watch the gritty political drama. But with the exodus of classic and fan-favorite shows, increased pricing, and the continued decline of original-content quality, how long before Netflix starts to lose subscribers to other streaming services? Leave us your thoughts below!

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