Why Was “Haters Back Off” Cancelled At Netflix?

It’s time to reveal why Haters Back Off ended up as a fail after Netflix and HBO had a bidding war over the series only 2 years ago. The answer might be unsettling for followers of this and any other YouTube show that have transitioned to the serious limelight of television.  Here are some reasons you may or may not like.

The show simply ran out of gas with its viewers.

Everyone makes the case that there should be this type of experimental show with non-Hollywood stars to find out the potential for new ideas. Which is great — for the audience. People were fine following Colleen Ballinger online for free, but Netflix is learning, and will continue to learn, that these types of YouTube following will soon have their fickle fans searching for yet another new flavor of the month. Though there have been some complaints about the announced cancellation, apparently there aren’t enough to change the minds at Netflix — which shows you something right there.

People grow up.

This is true of both the actors and the viewers. The problem with any adolescent series is that the main characters grow up and will likely lose some of their teen appeal. Take Malcolm in the Middle. Malcolm was eventually going to go off to college, so the adolescent antic would be completely inappropriate for the show. A spin off? Yes, but it would be a whole different ballgame.

The show was overanalyzed by its viewers.

One of the saddest and yet most common problems with modern TV viewers is that they must display their sophisticated knowledge of drama, acting, and movie making to the rest of the world. If you doubt this, read a random 100 of any movie or show’s posts on a discussion board and you will find some “expert” making their case. No longer can people just sit back and watch a movie and enjoy it for entertainment’s sake. For example, you would think bringing DC and Marvel comic book characters to the big screen would be a great thing. Not any more. If this is true of mainstream movie characters, how realistic is it to expect a show like Haters Back Off will last beyond a season or two?

The show was better on YouTube.

Here is a discussion point for the so-called “experts.” With a YouTube viewership of more than 5 million, the question of why it didn’t succeed on Netflix is a reasonable question. It may be that some video offerings are better off on YouTube than Netflix. It really should not surprise the experts who know about how some theatre actors cannot transition to the big screen, and vice-versa. Greats like Al Pacino have done it, but how many Al Pacino’s are out there? YouTube actors, like Indie actors, have their place in the growing world of movies, but companies like HBO and Netflix need a consistent audience and a profitable show.

For those who believe that the decision by Netflix was unfair, the response is that there are many TV shows that don’t make it past season one. Maybe the timeslot was wrong (3. a.m. seems to never be good) while in other cases it was just the show lost out to the competition. If you are making the case that neither of these factors apply to Haters Back Off because it is available on a streaming service, you are missing the point that Netflix cannot make every show created available for streaming. Again, this refers back to point #1, which is that viewers can afford to shout out their demands, but streaming companies cannot afford the same luxury.

The good news is that the show may be picked up by YouTube or it may continue to be produced without anyone’s financial backing. A dedicated fan base usually pays off, so fans can hope that this setback does not result in a show stopper.


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