Netflix laid off a contingent of its editorial staff just five months after launching its in-house publication Tudum. Netflix declined to share further details, but said that the Tudum is not being shut down. Over ten writers have tweeted that they were laid off, including an editorial manager. The layoffs reportedly affected 25 people total across Netflix's marketing department.
"Our fan website Tudum is an important priority for the company," a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement to TechCrunch.
Given the precariousness (and often low salaries) in traditional journalism jobs, Netflix managed to court a number of talented journalists from the top publications in online media, including many people of color, according to tweets by former employees.
While it’s good to know that Netflix is considering DEI when hiring -- something that newsrooms severely lack -- the quick layoffs put historically overlooked writers back in a position of vulnerability. Media businesses take time to grow, and in this case, it appears that people were let go before they really had a chance to develop a new publication from the ground up.
As competitor services like Disney+ and HBO Max grow, Netflix is struggling to keep up. The streaming service reported last week that in the first quarter of 2022, it lost 200,000 subscribers — its first subscriber loss in over a decade. These losses are expected to continue, as Netflix forecasts a global paid subscriber loss of 2 million for the second quarter.
Netflix has tried to squeeze more money out of customers by raising prices and testing features that would charge extra for account sharing. But on the heels of last week's bad earnings, it seems that Netflix decided to scale back its new content marketing business.
Netflix told TechCrunch that these layoffs affected a combination of both contract workers and full-time employees, but declined to share if any other departments at Netflix were affected.
If you are a Netflix employee or former employee who wishes to speak about these layoffs or company culture, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 929 593 0227 via Signal, an encrypted messaging app.