Netflix has finally made live content—except it’s in the form of an April Fool’s joke that demonstrates exactly why Netflix doesn’t actually do live content.
Every April 1, brands use the popular “holiday” to besiege social media with jokes and memes. This year, Netflix decided to riff on the growing obsession with live streaming, which the on-demand company has said numerous times is not interested in adding to its repertoire. The result is a 48-minute “Netflix Live” video of the American actor and Netflix regular Will Arnett providing a stream-of-consciousness narration of mundane office tasks around the Netflix campus.
In the (clearly pre-recorded) video, Arnett sits in a studio and dryly, hilariously, comments as employees go about their day, heating up food in the microwave, sharpening pencils, and checking their email.
Toward the end, he literally describes a patch of grass growing. ”Ah, finally something more boring than Jason Bateman,” he says about his Arrested Development co-star.
Perhaps as a dig at Facebook’s fixation on live content, Netflix appears to be saying, “This is what ours would be like—so let’s stick to on-demand.” The streaming company’s biggest selling point is being able to deliver a range of content to people whenever they want it, on their own schedules.
Even though the video is not really live, Arnett’s meandering monologue does appear to be entirely ad-libbed. Netflix tells users to “tune in tomorrow for full coverage.” Other topics of discussion include copy machines, toasters, a thumb war, puzzles, and parallel parking. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
And if tomorrow’s “live” content really is live, it’d give the streaming service an excellent opportunity to collect data on how its users watch truly live content—you know, if it were to ever consider going that route.