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Netflix Shares Down As Arrested Development Receives Bad Reviews

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(NEWSER) – Arrested Development diehards have finished their binging, and the first reviewers have finished their pontificating, so how has the Netflix experiment fared? By one measure, not so hot. Shares were down about 6% to $214 today, reports MarketWatch andCNNMoney. The reason, apparently, is that while the show got decent reviews, it also got some clunkers—or at least some that could most charitably be described as “mixed.” Investors seem fearful that all those people who signed up for a free trial just to watch the show might not stick around for the long term. Expect Netflix to put out specifics on viewership later in the week as a way to trumpet its success.

People have been begging me to write a review of season 4 of Arrested Development after all the blogging I did leading up to its release. The truth is I haven’t watched a single episode yet. I was at the Shore drinking all weekend through Monday night. Went to the Mets game last nite. Need to travel to Boston the next couple days. Just haven’t had the time to bang out 15 eps. And thats probably part of the problem with this format and the way its being received.

I have heard mixed reviews just like this article says. Kmarko said he’s not a fan. KFC Radio producer Puerto Rican Puff Daddy says he liked it. I am willing to almost guarantee that any really bad reviews being written are by people who probably can’t appreciate a lot of the intricate nuances and whatnot. But I have heard some complaints about how each episode focuses on one character more, which I think is a valid knock. And I do think there has gotta be some level of “impossible to live up to the hype” going on.

But none of that really matters for Netflix, really. They are worried about retaining viewers and subscriptions and shit. I don’t think releasing the entire season all at once is a solid move from their point of view. Its almost impossible to pull off. I guess its cool that they satiated the most diehard fans and gave them an 8 hour marathon right off the bat. I’m sure they also thought they couldn’t get people to pay monthly for 13 weeks and they could lure tons of new viewers with the free trial. But if your interest is in maintaining subscriptions and getting good reviews and spreading good word of mouth, the one, single, massive release isn’t the way to go. Its hard to hit 13 home runs and have viewers be 100% satisfied during an 8 hour binge. There’s no element of leaving them wanting more. No element of “I can’t wait to tune in next week.” Nobody out there signing up after week 2 or 3 because they want to join as new episodes air. Its like people just watched one big ass movie and if it didn’t live up to their expectations 100% they aren’t gonna have good things to say and they certainly have no reason to stick around on Netflix and pay monthly. I’m sure some AD nuts loved it – I’m sure when I find a good time to bang out the whole season I will. But you just open yourself up to a lot of new problems and criticisms breaking the mold like this. I guess there are bound to be growing pains for the first company to do things differently, but I just know I would have been just as happy watching it weekly or paying per episode periodically like all my other TV.