If the story of Netflix’s ongoing financial issues were one of their shows thrown onto its streaming platform, most audiences would already find the whole thing was getting pretty repetitive.
Following multiple rounds of layoffs this past spring, this latest episode in Netflix: When Number No Longer Goes Up has the company axing another 300 employees, according to an internal memo seen by The Hollywood Reporter and confirmed by the company. About 216 of the cut staff were from the U.S. and Canada, while another 53 were from Europe. Another 17 were from Latin America, though it remains unclear what departments these cuts impacted.
Co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos reportedly wrote to employees saying they “regret not seeing our slowing revenue growth earlier so we could have ensured a more gradual readjustment of the business.”
In a statement, a Netflix spokesperson said: “Today we sadly let go of around 300 employees. While we continue to invest significantly in the business, we made these adjustments so that our costs are growing in line with our slower revenue growth.” The company added that they were “working hard to support [cut employees] through this difficult transition.”
It likely doesn’t help the company posted this ironic (though probably unrelated) tweet the day before the cuts were announced:
Netflix had previously laid off around a dozen contract writer staff in April, which the company said was part of “marketing restructuring.” Then a month later, the company cut another 150 from their animation department and social media teams. In those two previous cases, many of the cut contracted writers took to social media to argue that Netflix was hurting itself and its efforts to promote a diverse range of shows to a diverse audience. Just like this most recent round of layoffs, the company blamed its slowing revenue growth for that second slate of cuts as well.
Netflix’s stock price has been hit hard since earlier this year when the company announced it had lost subscribers for the first time in company history. Plenty of other tech companies have also suffered losses that have led to layoffs in recent weeks. Netflix, which still remains the largest streaming platform by subscriber numbers, claimed to shareholders that Q1 loss was partially the fault of users sharing passwords and intense competition from the streaming platforms like Apple TV+ and Disney+. Critics of Netflix’s business model said the hardship is more to do with the company’s reliance on debt to fund its shows and the end of lucrative licensing deals.
Netflix’s first efforts to curtail password sharing haven’t exactly been promising for those Central American users who tried the company’s remedy. Netflix is also planning to release a lower-costed ad-supported tier onto the streaming platform.
In their memo, Hastings and Sarandos said they want to “invest significant amounts in our content and people,” further saying they plan to grow their employee base by 1,500 to 11,500 over the next 18 months. It’s unclear what relevance that assurance has to the employees who were just laid off.
It’s certainly an optimistic hiring projection, but Hastings especially is known for his blind support of the company. Others who have worked for the company are much less optimistic. One Netflix writer who previously spoke to Gizmodo under the condition they remain anonymous as they are under NDA, said that while the CEOs continue to make millions, Netflix is increasingly producing content in which, to put it nicely, “not all of it works.” That focus on rapidly cranking out new shows despite the cost has caught up with the company, they said.
“They have great content on occasion, but so much of it is just nonsense that gets thrown into the void,” the writer said. “And then they lose money; it’s a net loss.”