Netflix‘s hotly anticipated Love is Blind reunion was an embarrassing failure for the streamer—not because of anything that happened in the show, but because the live broadcast faced unexplained delays for more than an hour.
This year, Netflix has branched out into live TV, reinventing the wheel on technology that’s been around since the dawn of television. Scheduled to begin at 5pm PT, the Love is Blind reunion was Netflix’s second high-profile live event after the stand-up show Chris Rock: Selective Outrage in March.
But when LIB fans logged in to watch, most were met with a “technical difficulties” message, leading to a flood of complaints on social media as the reality show failed to materialize.
Other brands, including Blockbuster, also used the opportunity to promote their own businesses.
Netflix tweeted an apology about 90 minutes after the planned start time, acknowledging the show’s international audience by saying sorry to “everyone who stayed up late, woke up early, gave up their Sunday afternoon” to watch the live event. The message explained, “We’re filming it now and we’ll have it on Netflix as soon as humanly possible.”
Throughout the delays, the show’s hosts were seemingly forced to wait on set in front of a live studio audience. Some viewers were able to (belatedly) watch live, but others had to wait until the reunion was added to Netflix like a regular show.
Earlier in the evening, co-host Vanessa Lachey tweeted a photo playing into the jokes and complaints from LIB fans waiting for the show to start. Meanwhile, on Instagram, she shared a live update asking fans to stay patient and keep tuning in. However, this did little to curtail people’s frustrations with the broadcast.
In theory, Love is Blind was an ideal choice for Netflix’s first foray into live TV. The reality dating show has a massive fanbase, and a live broadcast created an opportunity for everyone to watch at once and talk about it on social media, thus generating more publicity.
But a snarky, very-online audience is the last thing you want in the midst of an unexplained technical delay.
The delays and glitches ultimately overshadowed anything that happened in the actual reunion; a major blow against Netflix’s plan to promote itself as a live broadcaster. As highlighted by a mocking tweet from Bravo TV (“We would never keep you waiting for a Reunion”), traditional broadcasters have no problem delivering this kind of live show. Livestreamed content is an unremarkable norm, so viewers had little reason to sympathize with Netflix’s technical struggles.