Netflix terminated the roles of 150 mostly US-based staff today in an ongoing effort to cut costs following a historic drop in subscribers, reported Deadline. The impacted employees reportedly include a number in senior-level positions. It’s the second round of layoffs at the company— which numbers roughly 11,000 employees — in recent weeks. An undisclosed number of writing and editing staff attached to Netflix's in-house fan website, Tudum, were let go last month.
A company spokesperson said the layoffs were directly tied to a slowdown in Netflix’s revenue growth. “As we explained on earnings, our slowing revenue growth means we are also having to slow our cost growth as a company. So sadly, we are letting around 150 employees go today, mostly US-based,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement to Engadget. “These changes are primarily driven by business needs rather than individual performance, which makes them especially tough as none of us want to say goodbye to such great colleagues. We’re working hard to support them through this very difficult transition.”
Variety reported today that the streaming service has also cut a number of in-development animated projects, including Wings of Fire from executive producer Ava DuVernay, a preschool series called Antiracist Baby and With Kind Regards From Kindergarten. But according to Variety's sources, these projects were dropped due to creative reasons and not as an effort to cut costs.
The streaming service also dropped the documentary Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, And You, a companion piece to Stamped From the Beginning.
Employee morale has been low at the Los Gatos, California-based company since it indicated during its last earnings call that it plans to tighten its belt, according to the Los Angeles Times. The company also updated its cultural memo this month to warn prospective employees that the streaming services “may not be the best place” for those who cannot work on content they disagree with.
“As employees we support the principle that Netflix offers a diversity of stories, even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values. Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful. If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you,” reads the culture guidelines.
Netflix reported it lost subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, which it chalked up to a rise in password sharing, increased competition from other streaming platforms and dropping its entire subscriber base in Russia. The streaming service is exploring adding a lower-priced, ad-supported tier as well as cutting a number of projects that were in development. The company anticipates losing another 2 million subscribers in the second quarter of 2022.