Earlier this year, with the release of "House of Cards" and the forthcoming resurrection of critical favorite "Arrested Development", it seemed that Netflix could do no wrong. Indeed, many wondered if the company's model - releasing all episodes of a season at once, rather than rolling them out on a weekly basis - represented the future of television.
Following much fanfare, the new season of "Arrested Development" debuted on May 26. Initial viewing reports were promising. Network intelligence company Procera Networks reported that about 10 percent of viewers made it to episode 15, while one of Procera's DSL network clients noted that 36 percent of devices watching Netflix on Sunday made it through at least one episode - a threefold increase on the 11 percent during the "House of Cards" debut.
But there was a steep drop-off in viewership between Sunday and Monday. "The closest analogy to what may be happening here is having a much-anticipated new show with big stars debut to strong premiere numbers on traditional TV, but then taper off in following weeks," said Sarah Perez in TechCrunch.
In addition, critics were lukewarm at best in their judgment of the new season. The New York Times announced in its review that the internet killed "Arrested Development", saying “it’s hard to imagine being anything but disappointed with this new rendition.” The market was no kinder - Netflix shares fell 5 percent on Tuesday morning, according to Variety.
One advantage traditional television has over the all-at-once model is that show creators have an opportunity to see how programs are received and make necessary tweaks. That makes Netflix's model even more of a gamble - if the formula is even slightly off, producers won't know it until the entire season is fully produced and released to the public.
Readers, what did you think of the new season of "Arrested Development"? Did it live up to your expectations?