Netflix ‘Arrested Development’ Watermark Gag Causes Confusion


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Fans of Netflix’s heavily hyped return of “Arrested Development” early Sunday were baffled by text watermarks, supposedly for video piracy software, in flashback scenes — a joke that misfired for some.

SEE ALSO: More ‘Arrested Development’ On the Way?

Watermarks with the text “Showstealer Pro Trial Version,” which appear in footage from the show’s run on Fox, are a prank pulled by the show’s producers. “Arrested Development” was canceled by Fox in 2006 after three seasons.

The streaming video company made all 15 episodes of “Arrested Development” season four available at 12:01 a.m. Pacific on Sunday, May 26. The premiere had garnered significantly more buzz than any Netflix original to date, and execs have counting on the skein to prop up second-quarter numbers.

A Netflix spokeswoman confirmed that the watermarks are intentional.

But many users didn’t get — or appreciate — the joke. Numerous ”Arrested Development” fans took to Twitter to complain about the watermarks immediately following the episode dump:

Did Netflix have to steal old Arrested Development scenes to put in the new season? There's a digital watermark 2:40 into the 1st episode…—
Phil Walck (@philwalck) May 26, 2013

i hope that watermark on Arrested Development ep.2 is intended. HAHAHA. i don't even care right now. @netflix
So Yun Um (@ssoyunum) May 26, 2013

@netflix @arresteddev WTF is this SHOWSTEALER PRO Trial version watermark that shows up? Not cool @Netflix.—
Elusive Asylum (@ElusiveAsylum) May 26, 2013

Erm @netflix Should I be seeing this watermark? I can't tell if its a joke or not.
Dan Cooper (@danielwcooper) May 26, 2013

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