Grace & Frankie's Success Makes Netflix's Recent Approach Even Worse

Grace and Frankie just ended after seven seasons, and its success makes Netflix’s recent approach to content even worse. With a total of 94 episodes, Grace and Frankie is one of Netflix’s longest-running original shows, surpassing hits like Orange Is the New Black, which finished with a total of 91 episodes, and The Ranch, which despite having eight seasons, only has a total of 80 episodes. Hitting the headlines recently with its approach to content, Netflix's drop in subscribers may have caused a wave of cancellations across the board. In light of Netflix’s recent content strategy, Grace and Frankie’s success is all the more impressive.

Premiering in 2015, Grace and Frankie was one of Netflix’s earlier pieces of original content. With its star-studded cast, including Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston, and Martin Sheen, the show was sure to draw viewers in. Often referred to as a follow-up to The Golden Girls, Grace and Frankie spoke to a wide-ranging audience, allowing it to develop over seven seasons and charm its viewers along the way. By mixing hilarious hijinks, loving relationships, real-world issues, and a slew of impressive cameos and guest stars, it’s not hard to understand why Grace and Frankie became such a hit.

Related: Netflix Is Missing 1 Easy Way To Help Fix Its Subscriber Woes

After a reported loss of 200,000 subscribers with the expectation to lose two million more, Netflix has been scrambling to address these issues. The company is focused on a crack-down on password sharing, but the real reason for this substantial loss is heavily debated. One of the major factors that must be considered is Netflix’s recent approach to content. While they have worked with an impressive array of talent, the streamer is regularly canceling shows before they manage to reach their peak or conclude their stories in a satisfying manner. This is understandably frustrating and may have led to a loss of trust between Netflix and its subscribers. Grace and Frankie’s success, therefore, should inspire Netflix to change its practices and remember how to create sustainable value for its consumers.

When Grace and Frankie debuted, Netflix was only just starting to curate its library of original content and thus was less prone to canceling shows before they had a chance to develop. Now, struggling to outpace its direct competitors, like Amazon Prime and Disney+, Netflix greenlights a lot of content, which leads to the inevitable demise of properties already available on the streaming platform. In 2017, Netflix reported just under a dozen cancellations (via PopCulture.com). In 2021, that number doubled (via What's On Netflix). Netflix originals are rarely given the time to find their audience anymore, and Netflix's lack of marketing doesn’t help either. Cowboy Bebop’s live-action remake was canceled just three weeks after its premiere. Growing the original content side of their business at this rate seems unsustainable, leading to the swift axing of shows before they’ve been given a chance to find a substantial number of viewers or develop their storylines, and Netflix’s reputation has taken a hit in the process.

Netflix’s focus shouldn’t solely be on growing its platform. It should be catering to its loyal customers as well. Canceling shows left and right without giving their stories the endings they deserve will only lead to frustration for viewers, prompting them to leave. Netflix has relented on this issue before, like when Sense8 was given the chance to produce a finale movie, but its cancelations are still starting to overwhelm its renewals. The Babysitter's Club, which initially co-starred Marvel's America Chavez actress Xochitl Gomez, was canceled without much warning, despite critical praise and a reportedly high number of viewers.

The company's metrics for success are mostly unknown. If Grace and Frankie were to premiere now, who’s to say if it would even make it past season 2? The show was given time to find its audience, to develop its story and its brand, something most newly acquired Netflix shows aren’t even given a chance to think about. In order to retain its current set of customers, Netflix needs to start thinking about what made its earlier shows successful enough to warrant consistent renewals and heal the company’s reputation in the process.

Next: Netflix: Every Movie & TV Show Releasing In May 2022



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