Two days after the disaster that was the “Love Is Blind” not actually-live reunion special, Netflix has revealed that the “technical issues” cited behind the delay were, in a way, of their own making.
During Netflix’s first quarter investor call on Tuesday afternoon, co-CEO Greg Peters spoke about the outcry from fans of the popular reality series over the Season 4 reunion special, which was scheduled to broadcast on the streamer live Sunday night. Starting from 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET, viewers who attempted to log in and watch the special were greeted with an error message, and the majority of fans were ultimately unable to watch it for several hours.
On the call, Peters apologized for the issues with the livestream, and revealed that the technical issues were caused by a bug in the company’s livestream tech. According to Peters, the bug was introduced after the company made changes to improve live-streaming performance, in the weeks following the March 5 premiere of its very first livestream event, Chris Rock’s comedy special “Selective Outrage.”
“We’re really sorry to have disappointed so many people. We didn’t meet the standard that we expect of ourselves to serve our members,” Peters said during the call. “And just to be clear, from a technical perspective, we’ve got the infrastructure. We had, just, a bug that we introduced actually when we implemented some changes to try to improve live-streaming performance after the [Chris Rock special].”
“We just didn’t see this bug in internal testing because it only became apparent once we put multiple systems interacting with each other under the load of millions of people trying to watch ‘Love Is Blind,'” Peters continued. “We hate it when these things happen, but we’ll learn from it and we’ll get better. We do have the fundamental infrastructure that we need.”
Peters also said during the call that, since the special’s release, 6.5 million people watched the reunion. Although some (but not all) viewers were able to access the reunion by roughly 7:30 p.m. PT the day it was originally meant to air, Netflix didn’t officially release the special until 12 p.m. PT on Monday.
Netflix didn’t reveal how the special’s viewership compared to “Selective Outrage,” which performed decently with about 17.79 million hours viewed during its first full week of tracking, but Peters’ fellow CEO Ted Sarandos did say that Rock’s special received 90 percent of its audience after the live premiere.
The failure of the “Love is Blind” live reunion to be, well, actually live caused considerable complaints from Netflix subscribers on social media Tuesday — in addition to inspiring several memes and jokes from competitors. On Sunday, Netflix released an initial statement via Twitter apologizing, but did not give an explanation for the delay.
“To everyone who stayed up late, woke up early, gave up their Sunday afternoon… we are incredibly sorry that the ‘Love is Blind Live Reunion’ did not turn out as we had planned,” the streamer’s official account tweeted. “We’re filming it now and we’ll have it on Netflix as soon as humanly possible. Again, thank you and sorry.”
In spite of the issues that the “Love is Blind” livestream faced, Netflix still plans to go ahead with more live programming — a popular trend among streamers, mostly in the form of live sports broadcast deals signed by the likes of Amazon and Apple TV+. After streaming the SAG Awards via Youtube this February, Netflix will present the annual awards show on its own app in 2024 — so hopefully the bugs will all be ironed out by then.
“We’ve said we want to use live when it makes sense creatively, when it helps the content itself,” Sarandos said during the call. “So a reunion show, that’s going to generate news and buzz. it really does play better live when people can enjoy it together.”
“Love is Blind,” which is (barely) hosted by Vanessa and Nick Lachey, follows a different group of cast members each season as they speed date in “pods” that hide each other’s appearances. The cast of each season dates, chooses to get engaged with their best match, and after meeting face-to-face for the first time, go through the process of prepping for the wedding and deciding whether to say yes or no at the alter. The fourth season premiered on March 24, and a fifth season has already been ordered.
Tony Maglio contributed reporting.