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Netflix: 'Arrested Development' Won't Crash Our Service 127

Nerval's Lobster writes "No, the latest season of 'Arrested Development' won't fatally crash Netflix, despite comedian David Cross's tongue-in-cheek comment that the series will melt down the company's servers on its first weekend of streaming availability. 'No one piece of content can have that kind of impact given the size of what we are serving up at any given time,' a spokesperson wrote in an email to Slashdot. Although 'Arrested Development' struggled to survive during its three seasons on Fox (from 2003 to 2006), the series has built a significant cult following in the years following its cancellation. Netflix commissioned a fourth season as part of a broader plan to augment its streaming service with exclusive content, and will release all 13 new episodes at once on May 26. Like Facebook, Google, and other Internet giants, Netflix has invested quite a bit in physical infrastructure and engineers. It stores its data on Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3), which offers a significant degree of durability and scalability; it also relies on Amazon's Elastic MapReduce (EMR) distribution of Apache Hadoop, along with tools within the Hadoop ecosystem such as Hive and Pig. That sort of backend can allow the company to handle much more than 13 seasons' worth of Bluths binged over one weekend — but that doesn't mean its streaming service is immune from the occasional high-profile failure."
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Netflix: 'Arrested Development' Won't Crash Our Service

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  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @02:49PM (#43539141)

    I was level 3 a few years ago and i have read that netflix has developed their own CDN as well
    the content is inside most ISP's networks. Amazon is used for authentication and to store the viewing data

    • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @03:03PM (#43539233)

      Yep. Netflix has Open Connect CDN [netflix.com] to help serve up content to the users at individual ISPs. As I recall, they give away server appliances [netflix.com] that hold a bit over a hundred TB of video to the ISPs, who then host it at their own expense at a peering facility they share with Netflix. One appliance is roughly capable of covering 70-90% of the content requests, according to some of the other documentation.

      • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
        I think each one is good for around 10Gb. For large networks, the recommend putting a different server at each logical choke point. The ISP does need to show demand before getting a free server.

        I also read that if your upstream provider is L3, you may already be making use of one of these, and since Netflix is already paying L3 to be a CDN, if your upstream is L3, bandwidth consumed by Netflix doesn't count towards your bill. If you need to upgrade your connection to L3, you're still responsible for thos
        • Show demand? Netflix does only offer their "Super HD" on ISP:s that use these free servers. So "show demand" is probably no more than showing that they really are ISPs.
  • by TWiTfan ( 2887093 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @02:50PM (#43539147)

    Yeah, I was reminded how durable Netflix was last Christmas when the ghosts of Christmas showed me the true meaning [digitaltrends.com] of bulletproof uptime.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Still less outages than I had with cable.

      Mind you I had TWC, so if you had a reputable provider instead you may have not had this level of outages.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Mind you I had TWC, so if you had a reputable provider instead you may have not had this level of outages.

        There's a reputable cable provider?

        • "There's a reputable cable provider?"

          Yes. I find monoprice supplies me with decent quality cables at pretty good prices.

          Western Union and AT&T also used to provide "cables," and were considered quite reputable in their time.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That sort of backend can allow the company to handle much more than 13 seasons' worth of Bluths binged over one weekend

    They are going to make 10 MORE *SEASONS* of arrested development???!!!??!!

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @02:53PM (#43539165)
    Arrested Development is in the same boat as Firefly. It has hard core devoted fans, but there have never been enough of them. If it was really and truly as popular as its fans seem to think, it would still be on the air and it wouldn't be having to rely on Netflix to get available again. I watched the show a few times and it just didn't work for me at all. I really do not get what the big deal was. Let me put it another way - All you guys who posted about how Futurama sucks, so you're glad it's off the air - yeah, that's pretty much how I feel about Arrested Development. I will say that I really cannot think of any other show that Fox tried for so long to shove down its viewers throats despite plenty of evidence that most American TV viewers really did not care at about it and never were going to care about it no matter how long they kept it around and how many promos they ran for it.
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @02:56PM (#43539177)

      Most American TV viewers watch Idol and Dancing with the stars, so we can ignore their judgement as a baseline for what is good.

      I am pretty excited about this, I never watched the show on TV, but found it on Netflix and loved it. Netflix has recently been doing a great job creating content so I am pretty hopeful. I am really looking forward to next season of House of Cards.

      • You mean the public that watched a rerun of the Big Bang theory over American idol?

        http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/04/19/american-idol-big-bang-theory/ [ew.com]

        That said, I don't like firefly, though I do like Arrested Development.

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          Is that supposed to be an improvement?

          If slashdot allowed images, I would place the "Your not helping" meme right here.

          Wow, they watched a show that belittles folks like me, instead of watching idiots sing. I guess it is better than mistrel shows.

          • by Reverand Dave ( 1959652 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @03:26PM (#43539443)
            One of my good friends refuses to even consider watching big bang theory, he calls it "black-face for nerds."
            • by Cinder6 ( 894572 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @03:48PM (#43539669)

              One of my good friends refuses to even consider watching big bang theory, he calls it "black-face for nerds."

              You know, that's a pretty good description. The show is full of the most ridiculous over-acting with one-dimensional (if that) characters with obnoxious voices and idiotic plotlines. I actually was looking forward to a sciency-type sitcom, but was disappointed to see it was the same traditional dross, only with "nerdy" characters. I put "nerdy" in quotes because they seemed more like socially maladjusted outcasts than nerds.

              Anyway, I'm looking forward to the new Arrested Development. I'm both pleased and displeased all the episodes will be released at once. I like being able to watch them without waiting a week between each airing, but the suspension is nice to savor it, and I know I won't have the self-control to make it last more than at most a week.

              That said, I'm also a little worried about it. I was one of those who didn't like the new Futurama episodes (not even The Late Philip J. Fry, as it was quite depressing, even if touching), and I worry that with the actors being so much older now, some of the flair of the original show will be lost.

              • The reason given for releasing them all at once is that while there is an order they expect them to be viewed, they can be viewed in random order to get the stories in different perspectives. Portia de Rossi said something to the effect of if you watch her episode first, Lucille ends up looking particularly bitchy, but if you watch Jessica Walters' episode first, Lindsay ends up looking bitchy.

              • ... they seemed more like socially maladjusted outcasts than nerds.

                Not to defend that stupid show, but honestly, I know some people from my Uni who (in terms of social adjustment) are way worse than Sheldon.

              • by fearofcarpet ( 654438 ) on Thursday April 25, 2013 @02:11AM (#43543571)

                The thing about the Big Bang Theory is that there are little science-nerd jokes tucked into it that give me a chuckle, while the boiler plate sit com format still makes my wife laugh, who is European and doesn't get the subtle cultural jokes and wordplay of shows like Arrested Development. For example, why is Sheldon's face on the cover of the Journal of Physical Chemistry? That journal (or any other journal that I know of) would never put someone's face on the cover--let alone a theoretical physicist postdoc. I chose to take that as an inside joke because even the equations in the backgrounds of the sets were clearly vetted by people who know better. Meanwhile my wife thoroughly enjoys watching the various ham-handed relationships evolve. So neither of us is in love with show, but we both get some entertainment out if it... and voilà, mass appeal.

                ...I also think that the new Futurama isn't as good as the original, but it's hard to tell given that I was still in college when it first aired and I probably changed more than the show in time it was off the air. I hope Arrested Development has evolved with its audience, but I keep reminding myself that it can't possible meet my unrealistic expectations. At least they are releasing a whole batch at once so I can power through a few at a time to get re-immersed, rather than having to wait a week or more between episodes.

            • posting to undo "slippity-finger-mod"....

          • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @03:34PM (#43539529)

            they watched a show that belittles folks like me

            You work at the cheesecake factory?

          • I would not say that it belittles, it just emphasizes the wrong things. Being geek is not about reading comics and playing D&D, even if many geeks do like it.

            The reason I don't feel belittled by that show is because *any* TV show is like that. ER and Dr. House has nothing to do with real doctors, CSI with real cops, American Idol with real musicians, Dancing with the Stars with neither dancers nor stars.

            So, cheer up, it is business as usual.

        • Big Bang Theory jumped the shark the moment they started to recycle their jokes because they know the average viewer is too stupid to recognize the same scientific mumbo jumbo from season to season.

          • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

            The average viewer is not watching for that reason, they are watching the equivalent of a minstrel show but with nerds instead of African Americans. They only want a caricature of what nerds are, and they want to laugh at them, not with them.

      • by alen ( 225700 )


        my wife hogs the TV for AI and Dancing while i stream MLB TV on the iPad

      • Most American TV viewers watch Idol and Dancing with the stars, so we can ignore their judgement as a baseline for what is good.

        Not to blatantly contradict your logic too harshly...but you said it yourself. Most American TV viewers watch Idol and Dancing with the stars

        So, yeah, I'd agree with you that most Americans wouldn't know good TV if it walked up and punched them in the face, but as long as networks base the continuation of a series on ratings, if people continue to watch Idol over something else, there's a good chance that something else is going to get the axe.

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          Sure, but that does not mean these shows cannot exist on Netflix.

          House of Cards does well on Netflix, Boardwalk Empire does well on HBO, showtime has seen much success with The Borgias. None of those shows are ever going to be what most Americans watch. Yet, enough do watch to make them profitable to continue to produce.

          • Right, I was speaking to the more general discussion in the thread where folks were commenting on Futurama and Arrested Development and whether or not they should be cancelled. In that sense, when you're talking about cable or especially network TV, they've only got so many timeslots to work with so they have to keep their number of shows trimmed down and consequently they want to make sure they only keep the solid performers. I totally agree with you that online distribution changes the whole game becaus
    • Star Trek.

      That being said, that was the 1960s and it's possible the show was really a victim of both poor scheduling and poor data collection.

      • I love how Netflix has most Star Trek movies available on Instant, with the exception of First Contact. Not that it was a great movie, but it really messed up my ST movie marathon.
    • I don't think any of us are thinking that it's popular; we all realize that it wasn't popular and that's why it was cancelled.

      We just realize that's it's so good it shouldn't have been cancelled.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      It has hard core devoted fans, but there have never been enough of them.

      How many is enough? If they're meeting payroll, that's enough.

      • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

        How many is enough? If they're meeting payroll, that's enough.

        Indeed. When an unprofitable show gets cancelled -- that is totally understandable, networks are not charity organizations.

        The real tragedy is when a show with low profit margin gets cancelled, because some executive decided to get a bigger bonus. That's why crap reality shows are all over the place - they are dirt cheap to make.

        • This is something that Netflix can break that mold. No longer are shows competing for prime time, or competing for any time. There's only 24 hours in a day that a legacy channel can air shows. Netflix based steamed shows just need to attract subscribers, and they can show an unlimited number of different 1 hour shows in one day.

      • by Cinder6 ( 894572 )

        These are for-profit businesses, and you have to look at opportunity costs. If a show only breaks even, then you may (and probably will) make more money with a different show. This is even true when showing a profit; what would you rather have, a show with $1M in profit, or a show with $20M in profit?

        It sucks for the fans, but it's not illogical.

    • We fans KNOW it wasn't as popular as a mainstream show. So because the mainstream has deemed it a failure it should die a noble death and just be quiet? Sometimes the minority demands to be heard. Sorry your delicate sensibilities are getting damaged. Probably best to move on in life.
    • This is one of those subjective things that you are wrong about.

    • by Cinder6 ( 894572 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @04:06PM (#43539883)

      I'm not going to pretend that everyone will, or should, like the show, but:

      The reason I liked Arrested Development is because it's a serial sitcom with no laugh track that doesn't rely on vulgarity or shock value to deliver its laughs to anywhere near the same degree as other shows (see: How I Met Your Mother). I care about that not because I'm a prude, but because I appreciate that it forces the writers to be more creative, rather than regurgitating the same base jokes over and over again. AD also doesn't string the audience along for so long; again picking on HIMYM, that show will be in its 9th season before we actually meet the titular mother. Finally, I like the more varied cinematography that AD's use of single-camera shots allows.

      At the same time, I think some of the above made it hard for AD to find a large audience. I know the lack of laugh track alienated some people, incredible though that seems to me, as I find laugh tracks to be an abomination. The serial nature makes it hard to pick up in the middle of a season, let alone the series, and the (slightly) more subtle humor might not be what Americans are looking for. The single-camera shots also made for higher production costs, which in turn hurt the bottom line.

      • The reason I liked Arrested Development is because it's a serial sitcom with no laugh track that doesn't rely on vulgarity or shock value to deliver its laughs to anywhere near the same degree as other shows (see: How I Met Your Mother)

        Dude, seriously? If you had given It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia as an example, I'd understand, but How I Met Your Mother is way cleaner than Arrested.

        Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of Arrested, How I Met Your Mother, and Sunny. I'm also completely with you on the "no laugh track" thing, I seriously dislike that. I'm just really confused about your vulgarity and shock value comments. I mean, Tobias' character is entirely based on vulgar jokes. I mean, we're talking about a guy that has a card t

        • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
          AD treat sex like real life. It's there, it can be funny or awkard, but it's not a central topic of conversation. HIMYM treats sex like it's the capstone of any conversation. Everything revolves around casual sex and it is a main topic of conversation. The characters act like their at a sex addicts anonymous meeting.
          I also find the entire premise hard to believe. This character is supposed to be listing off his sexcapades to his children as some sort of amusing anecdote.
          • by Cinder6 ( 894572 )

            This is pretty much what I was thinking when I wrote the comment. Yes, there is vulgarity in AD, but it's the way that it's portrayed that makes a difference. Tobias is completely unwitting in what he says, while several episodes of HIMYM seem to carry the message of "misogyny is cool" if you don't understand the larger theme of the show (which often gets overshadowed in individual episodes).

      • Wow, if you think HIMYM is vulgar, donâ(TM)t watch âoeTwo and a Half Menâ nor âoeTwo Broke Girlsâ.

        I think itâ(TM)s somewhat of a shame that shows have gotten crasser, but Iâ(TM)m also part of the problem because funny is funny. (Heck, there are a couple of âoedirty wordsâ that are now common on early prime time TV nowadays -- d*** and d*bag.)

    • If you saw some random episodes, then there was really not much chance to like it. That is one of the reasons the show did not pick up more viewers during its run (along with the fact that its schedule was not consistent of course).
      The series is pretty self-referential as it goes on, so some of the best jokes cannot be appreciated. Also, its strength is that there is a design, things don't just happen at random. For example a certain Korean character sort of stops appearing on some episode and is not mentio

    • Nah, Fox royally fucked up Firefly. Arrested Development had three seasons to do it right. Fox didn't even finish airing Firefly's first season.

    • by neminem ( 561346 )

      Indeed, it is in the same boat as Firefly. Like Firefly, I had never even heard of Arrested Development until long after it had failed to attract enough attention to survive on the air, and immediately fell in love with it once I had been introduced. I claim that, in both cases, it was less about being too much of a niche show, and more about completely failing to ADVERTISE just what an awesome show it was. It doesn't matter how many people *would* have loved it, if they never even knew it existed (or, freq

    • I think you have to come from a highly dysfunctional family to really appreciate this... I did have a really dysfunctional childhood and loved the show, two friends from relatively normal families just didn't get it.
    • most American TV viewers really did not care at about it

      Most TV viewers are not American.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Don't underestimate the networks to bungle any show outside there normal expected pattern.

      I love Arrested Development, but I don't have high hopes for it's return. I don't know if they can recapture the high energy.

      Also, I love Futurama.

      Interestingly enough, I never even hear dog the show until it went off the air. I suspect there advertising was such it didn't draw my attention.

      I know about 20 people I've got to watch it and they all seem to enjoy it.

      So who knows. Maybe it was in a bad time slot.

      Not that I

    • You can't think of a single show that Fox "tried to shove down our throats" that lasted for more than two and a half seasons? Wow. And you also seem to think that shows that fans attempt to bring back will invariably fail again? Alright, here's a counterpoint for both of these assertions: Family Guy. So ridiculously successful the second time around it spawned two spinoffs (don't tell me American Dad isn't a spinoff) and ultimately led to an entirely new Sunday night theme/gimmick for Fox.

      Beyond this, t
    • Shows like Community, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Arrested Development, Futurama, etc. do attract hard-core niche fan bases that are willing to deal with multiple cancellations, "restaffing," and arbitrary schedule changes and hiatuses, but that lack the "mass appeal" to drive ratings, which is how ad-buys are priced. That is why "teevee" is in the process of bifurcating between streaming, on-demand (and often subscription-based) services like Netflix and traditional push-media. And I for one think i

    • by sgtrock ( 191182 )

      Oh, please. AD and Firefly's handling by Fox couldn't have been more different.

      AD: All 3 seasons shown in a stable slot. All episodes shown in order.

      Firefly: 1 season shown wherever Fox felt like shoving it. You never knew week by week where it was going to be. The episodes were shown so far out of order that it was impossible to understand what the backstory was.

      Frankly, I think an executive at Fox wanted the show eliminated as fast as possible to make room for a pet project or two. It's a wonder that

  • by Brucelet ( 1857158 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @02:54PM (#43539171)
    Sounds great to me!
  • You realize that this is a non-paid advertisement for Netflix and 'Arrested Development', right? This is in no way news. It is in no way for nerds. The nominal tie-in to "cloud computing" doesn't change that.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      You do realize this was posted to the "entertainment" section, right? Nerds watch TV for entertainment, and this is new, so this is news for nerds. That you don't care about it doesn't change that.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      ... and yet *you* read, and dignified it with a comment.

      Working as intended.

    • It'd be useful if the article mentioned WHY a netflix spokesperson went this e-mail to slashdot. If they did it out of the blue, then you're right. If slashdot for some reason reached out to them for comment, then yeah it's still unpaid advertising, but it's unpaid advertising because slashdot decided for some reason that this was newsworthy.
    • by CODiNE ( 27417 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @03:40PM (#43539587) Homepage

      It's news to me that Netflix can pick up new seasons of canceled shows. That's great news for shows that do better on DVD than on the air.

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      I don't like the show at all, but I find it interesting that Netflix has picked it up because I know a couple friends that love the show to death.
    • Computer Nerds are a large part of the Arrested Development "cult" and every mention of the show/movie is considered news.

    • News that was just about House of Cards of the other Netflix shows, I'd agree with you.

      But among "Nerds", Arrested Development seems REALLY popular, and so even arbitrary news about it would apply - and an article related to server configuration and Arrested Development DEFINITELY is News for Nerds.

  • Gob? (Score:5, Funny)

    by RoccamOccam ( 953524 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2013 @03:04PM (#43539243)

    'No one piece of content can have that kind of impact given the size of what we are serving up at any given time,' a spokesperson (Gob Bluth) wrote in an email to Slashdot.

    to be soon followed by "I've made a huge mistake."

  • I love AD, but I am quite ready to be disappointed. I suspect these so-called new "episodes" will just be some kind of mock promotional short content made to create some hoopla and... in short, a publicity stunt. Not real episodes.

    Now, are American Idol and DWTS really that cheap to make? I've read that the judges, celebrities either we like it or not, make some pretty high salaries for just sitting there and going all blah blah blah about whatever it is they talk about in these shows. Doesn't seem so cheap

    • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
      I have never watched netflix on windows. I have however used my wii's, my smartphone's, and my kid's android tablets.
  • Amazon has been beefing up their video services lately (see the pilots they released yesterday) and will be releasing a set-top box for amazon video. It's well known that they fuck over 3rd party sellers (monitoring what's popular and then selling it themselves). If I was Netflix, I would find somebody else to do business with.
  • I've never watched Arrested Development. I didn't think it was that popular.

    • Critically acclaimed but didn't do well in ratings. One of the problems is that it really was a show structured for binge watching. Sometimes they would setup a joke in an episode that wouldn't pay off until 3 episodes later.

      Personally, I loved it, but I caught it after it was cancelled when I rented it on DVD.
  • So the earth-spanning network encompassing the totality of human knowledge ends up being a medium for the easier dissemination of TV programs. Truly, a brave new world.
  • I'm sure someone over at HBO said the same thing when season 3 of GoT was released. The system is still unusable for many on Sunday nights from the incredible strain their network is under as new episodes are released. During the Season 3 premier nearly the entire HBO Go service crashed, and the show was unavailable for most for about 45 minutes.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen