Netflix lays off employees as company deals with significant losses

Arianne Gonzalez, Arts & Culture Editor

At least 10 full-time employees at Tudum, a website run by Netflix Inc.,were laid off on April 28, after the company was hit with a loss of subscribers that caused them to consider advertisement sales.

“Netflix recruited me seven months ago only to lay me and a bunch of other talented people off today,” Evette Dionne, a journalist and former Tudum employee, tweeted.

Made to entice fans, Tudum is dedicated to going “behind the streams,” publishing articles about the content that is currently or will be on the platform. It launched back in December 2021, but many people were not aware of its existence even though it was significantly promoted by the company.

In a move to restructure its marketing department, Netflix laid off writers and editors who worked for the culture and trend section of Tudum. Many were journalists who have worked on publications such as Vulture and Vice and others were book authors and podcasters. According to NPR, many were Black, Latinx or Asian.

“They went very out of their way to hire high level journalists of color who have quite a bit of name recognition and a lot of experience and talent,” a laid-off Tudum employee told NPR. “In some ways, they were just buying clout to lend credibility to their gambit.”

In total, Netflix laid off 25 employees from the global marketing team, according to The Wrap.

Sara David, another former employee, tweeted about receiving a phone call that informed her of her termination and that she would receive two weeks of severance pay.

The layoffs came a week after Netflix’s report of major subscriber loss in more than a decade, losing 200,000 subscribers in its first quarter. The company’s stock dropped 35% on April 20, cutting $50 billion from the company’s value, according to CNN.

As part of these losses, Netflix made other major cuts and cancellations. Its animation department was hit with the losses as Phil Rynda, the director of creative leadership and development for original animation, and several of his staff were let go.

Animated series that were in development are now canceled, such as adaptations of Jeff Smith’s “Bone” and Roald Dahl’s “The Twits.”

It was also reported that the company is considering an advertisement-supported streaming plan to encourage more people to subscribe.

“Those who have followed Netflix know that I have been against the complexity of advertising, and a big fan of the simplicity of subscription,” co-CEO Reed Hastings said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “But as much as I am a fan of that, I am a bigger fan of consumer choice. And allowing consumers who would like to have a lower price, and are advertising-tolerant, get what they want, makes a lot of sense.”

Netflix is not alone in its restructuring of subscription plans. In March, Disney+, a streaming service owned by The Walt Disney Co., announced that it will implement its own ad-supported version later this year, according to The New York Times.

“It’s pretty clear that it’s working for Hulu. Disney’s doing it. HBO did it,” Hastings said.  “I don’t think we have a lot of doubt that it works. All those companies have figured it out. I’m sure we’ll just get in and figure it out as opposed to just test it and maybe do it or not do it.”