If there’s one thing Netflix is known for, it’s bringing out hit new shows which quickly go viral. But if there’s something else it’s known for, it’s ditching those very same shows after just one season, leaving a legion of fans up in arms. From Santa Clarita Diet to The OA to 1899 to Warrior Nun, the number of shows absolutely vanishing from the platform seems to be growing by the day.

In spite of rave reviews and fan support, Netflix seems determined to cancel shows and send the entire internet into uproar. But there may be a secret reason as to why they keep on doing it – and people think they’ve figured it out …

According to Forbes, it’s not the hours users spend watching a Netflix show that helps ensure it gets renewed for a second season. Nor is it the fan reception, or even the critical reviews. Instead, it’s something called the “completion rate.”

This measures how many of the people who started the show actually watched it all the way through to the end. It’s believed that rather than the hours spent watching, it’s the completion rate which indicates to Netflix whether or not there will be a strong viewership for a potential second season of the show.

So, for examples First Kill got cancelled after one season despite seemingly having more hours watched than Heartstopper, which got renewed for 2 new seasons. But the fact of the matter is, First Kill only had a forty-four percent completion rate, while seventy-three percent of Heartstopper viewers watched every single episode.

Forbes believes that the threshold for series renewal has to be around a fifty percent completion rate. The site points to examples like 1899, which only managed about thirty-two percent completion, and has since been scrapped after season one as a result.

While this completion rate theory remains just a theory, there is some compelling evidence that it at the very least plays a role in deciding which shows Netflix decides to renew.

Forbes does posit that it’s unlikely that completion rate is the sole deciding factor though. For instance, if a show had extremely poor viewership and was panned by critics, it’s unlikely that an over fifty percent completion rate could save it on its own.

Netflix has so far refused to comment on Forbes’ theory.

In fact, one of the only times anyone has spoken about it was Ted Sarandos’s now famous quote: “It’s seventy percent gut and thirty percent data… Most of it is informed hunches and intuition. Data either reinforces your worst notion or it just supports what you want to do either way.”

Which Netflix cancellation do you miss the most?

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