It has been reported that Netflix reduced its original programming output by almost a fifth in 2023.
According to industry reports, the streaming giant has cut back on more than 130 original shows and films. How these cutbacks will affect South African and sub-Saharan African content production is still being determined.
Despite consistently producing more shows and films each year, Netflix’s output has been in decline since 2023. This dip in production occurred during every quarter of last year. Even during the months-long writers’ and actors’ strikes that affected Hollywood in 2023, Netflix still cut back in all four quarters of the year. In the last quarter of 2023, Netflix had its slowest fourth-quarter output in five years.
In a statement, Netflix’s head of film, Scott Stuber, explained that the company is shifting its programming strategy to reduce quantity and focus on increasing the quality of its content output. He noted that “we’re a machine built to go, go, go, and that doesn’t always result in quality. Many streaming companies made the mistake of moving so fast that we made a lot of things that weren’t ready to be produced. I want to avoid that.”
Netflix’s audience engagement decreased in 2023, with a 17% decline in viewing and over 7 billion fewer hours watched compared to the previous year. These changes reflect a significant programming shift by Netflix, which aims to produce higher-quality content while reducing its overall output.