In what could be a sign that streaming giant Netflix is reeling from its first subscriber loss in more than a decade, the company announced it has laid off about 150 people. Netflix lost more than 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, and it blamed the war in Ukraine and fierce competition for the decline.
Tuesday’s layoffs represent approximately 2% of the company’s workforce in the United States and Canada. Netflix did not say what departments would be affected by the cuts.
“As we explained on earnings, our slowing revenue growth means we are also having to slow our cost growth as a company,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. “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.”
Tuesday’s cuts may not be the last ones, with Netflix forecasting deeper losses in Q2. The company has already said it would introduce a cheaper, ad-supported tier and look more closely at its spending.
The latest Netflix move to counteract the company’s subscriber loss came on the same day Variety reported Netflix has canceled several animated projects, including:
“Wings of Fire,” from executive producer Ava DuVernay
“Antiracist Baby,” a series aimed at preschoolers
“With Kind Regards From Kindergarten,” a film tailored to youngsters.
Netflix also scrapped “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You,” a documentary intended to serve as a companion piece to “Stamped From the Beginning.” The hybrid documentary and scripted feature that delves into race in the United States is still moving forward and is currently in post-production.
Sources at Netflix stressed the cancellations were the result of creative decisions and not cost related, meaning the cancellations would have taken place regardless of the subscriber loss.