Technology

Netflix’s new original series commands viewers to click through to the next episode

Netflix’s newest original series Next In Fashion isn’t taking chances when it comes to viewers skipping episodes or quitting the show entirely. Hosts Tan France and Alexa Chung directly command viewers to click through to the next episode at the end of the one preceding it, taking a cue from YouTubers who often push people to subscribe to their channels or click through to another video. The decision also highlights the new, cutthroat nature of Netflix Originals and the possibility of being canceled after only one season. Stakes are high for show creators.

“Click play next now,” France says at the end of episode 3, teasing that episode 4 will involve streetwear fashion.

“Are you in your bed on your laptop?” Chung asks at the end of episode 2. “Maybe you’re watching this on TV. Stay tuned because there’s another one coming right up; don’t move anywhere.”

“Press it now,” France adds, talking about the play next button.

A source familiar with the show says the shoutouts were a creative decision rather than a Netflix-required one, which could speak to the pressure creators feel when competing within Netflix itself and against other original series.

“A lot of things on Netflix don’t get second seasons,” BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg told Vulture last year. “I think it’s a very busy landscape. It’s hard to make an impression. I think we just got very lucky when we premiered. It just so happened that summer there wasn’t too much other stuff going on.”

In 2019, Netflix canceled animated series Tuca & Bertie after one season, as well as The OA after two. Other canceled shows include Seven Seconds, The Get Down, Everything Sucks, Lady Dynamite, and Girlboss. Although Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in 2017 that Netflix renews 93 percent of original series, renewal is clearly top of mind for show creators who want to keep making their project and getting paid.

At the same time, Netflix is incentivized to keep its content fresh and its catalog large in order to entice new subscribers. As my colleague Julia Alexander pointed out last year, the company doesn’t make money from ads or TV syndication, so it doesn’t need to order six or seven seasons of a show.

“Retaining subscribers and bringing in new customers is the company’s number one mission, and that’s led to an internal metric that Netflix uses to decide whether a show should be renewed: ‘efficiency,’” she wrote.

Next In Fashion’s creators clearly recognize that they’ve got one shot to keep viewers tuned in, and a direct appeal to the audience is one way it’s experimenting with keeping its viewership numbers consistently high while avoiding cancellation.