Crisis at Netflix. It could turn into huge opportunity or leave execs more scared - Hollywood insider

Business Insider US
Daniel Reinhardt/picture alliance via Getty Images
Daniel Reinhardt/picture alliance via Getty Images

After Netflix reported losing subscribers for the first time in over a decade, the streaming giant laid off 25 marketing staffers and is reining in its multibillion-dollar annual content budget. 

Hollywood creatives told Insider the crisis will either drive Netflix to create higher quality original content — or set off a creative retreat. 

Though the company is still expected to spend as much as $18 billion on content in 2022, Insider's conversations with nine Hollywood producers, showrunners, and talent reps revealed that the streamer is pulling back from the glory days of its first decade as an original programming powerhouse. 

"I miss the days when Netflix executives had passion projects — projects they nurtured and fought for as much as any creator — and they could make that case and follow that passion," one showrunner said.

Now that the company's meteoric rise is slowing, the showrunner said they "worry that people are going to be even more scared and paralysed than they already were." 

But some see the crisis as an opportunity for the streamer. "I hope it forces them to change," said a TV agent. "We want them to be a viable buyer. They need to get shaken a little."

Last week, Netflix announced it lost 200,000 subscribers during the first quarter of 2022 and expects to lose another 2 million in coming months. The streamer credited its first subscription drop in over a decade to growing competition, password sharing, and macroeconomic factors such as inflation and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

Read more from Insider's discussions with Hollywood insiders on Netflix here

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider's parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.

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