Fans sat down on Sunday night, ready to watch the live broadcast love is blind Reunite and find out if season favorites Tiffany and Britt really are “forever,” Netflix’s Twitter bio announced. But the streaming giant stumbled through its big moment, unable to deliver the drama in real time to its viewers. After about 90 minutes, Netflix called to end it, opting instead to record the reunion and launch Monday afternoon.
“To everyone who stayed up late, got up early, gave up on a Sunday afternoon… We are so sorry that love is blind Netflix said at a tweet. “We’re filming it right now and will have it on Netflix ASAP. Again, thank you and sorry.” Netflix did not respond to a request for comment on the cause of the streaming difficulties.
Netflix disrupted TV — which had a pretty good thing going for it when it comes to streaming — only to bring it back recently, offering its subscribers a live special from Chris Rock in March. The move to streaming content is widely seen as a push to help Netflix differentiate itself in a competitive field of video players, especially since the network has taken unpopular steps to boost revenue by pledging to reduce password sharing. But live programming on streaming is trickier than it is on streaming, and Netflix is far from the first streaming company to fall victim to technical hurdles — especially when it comes to on-demand content.
“You could say it’s so popular that it fails to succeed,” says John Kendall, media delivery analyst at consulting firm Omdia. Highly anticipated content like the hit reunion show, which was marketed heavily by Netflix, is just what the network needs to stand out. But maybe it is because a lot of people are trying to access the software. “Netflix just had this problem, but it’s not the first and it won’t be the last,” says Kendall.
While broadcast TV makes live TV look simple, broadcasting companies lag behind because they use a different approach. A broadcast sends a signal from one to more. Think of this as the traditional TV or radio signal going out, and then many people tune in by flipping on the TV and selecting the channel. But a stream is a series of unicasts – sending a signal to a single device on demand. This creates more opportunities for errors to occur, whether in creating content, transmitting it to servers, or delivering it to users, Kendall says. More people watching means more bandwidth is needed. And if broadcasters fall short of expectations, they may run into problems.
Netflix in particular faces challenges here, Kendall says, because it has only one way to distribute its content: through the Netflix app on your TV, computer, phone, or tablet. Competitors like HBO have people tuning in via apps but also those who use HBO through their cable subscriptions, diversifying how the channel can distribute content during busy times.
Other big events have always had disappointing live broadcasts. Attempts To watch a live Super Bowl stream, there are issues, finding content to stream for 2021 Summer Olympics I brought a headache. World Cup players have struggled to slim down response time, is the time interval between when events occur and when they reach the television screen, which has historically been longer in broadcast than in broadcast. That’s because the operators send the content in fragments, which your device then reads. Reducing response time is key. “It is no longer a matter of Does it work, can it support the number of people?says Michael Inouye, an analyst at technology intelligence firm ABI Research. “that it, What is cumin now?”
Live broadcasting is expected to grow, and there is particularly demand in sports. Amazon began exclusively carrying Thursday night NFL games in 2022. Starting later this year, the NFL’s Sunday Ticket, the package that lets people subscribe and watch games other than those played in your home market, will be distributed via YouTube. As consumers begin to embrace these services more broadly, any latency issues will be particularly annoying — especially if, say, fans start to learn about landing on Twitter before they even see them on their screens. And it has implications for placing fast sports bets as well.
With only one successful and one disastrous live event, Netflix now has to prove that it can deliver live content consistently. The broadcast device is already reserved for live broadcasting to Screen Actors Guild Awards The year is 2024 and other events are likely to line up in the future. But if she wants to compete in the streaming wars, she’s going to have to step up her game.
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