Netflix just can’t catch a break as it keeps haemorrhaging subscribers – and now a new lawsuit has emerged, too.
There was a time when Netflix seemed invincible. It was fresh, must-have streaming service with critically acclaimed shows such as House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black.
Oh, how times have changed. Lately, Netflix has mostly been in the news for things such as constant layoffs and losing subscribers. According to a new study by Kantar, things aren’t looking up either.
A total of 1.66 million services were cancelled in the second quarter of 2022, up from the 1.51 million reported for the first quarter. Kantar also reported that under-24s were the most likely age group to cancel their subscriptions. That won’t help them in the long-term, for obvious reasons.
The constant, steep rise in the cost of living is one of the biggest driving forces for people to cancel. According to the study, a third of those who cancelled their services did so in order to cut costs.
58% of households in the UK still have at least one streaming service, but the study also noted that customers rated Disney+ higher than Netflix due to the quality of the shows. Disney+ appears to have their finger on the pulse a bit more of late, with their Marvel and Star Wars TV shows. Ms. Marvel, which aired its final episode last week is currently the highest rated Marvel TV show and boasts an impressive 97% approval rate on Rotten Tomatoes.
To top it all off, Netflix is also facing a lawsuit, as reported by the BBC, following claims from Jeremy Hartwell. Hartwell was a contestant on Love Is Blind, a blind-dating show on Netflix that’s just been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Structured Reality Programme.
Hartwell claims that the streamer has broken labour laws by underpaying the cast as well as encouraging them to drink alcohol while limiting their access to food and water. Production company Kinetic Content is strenuously denying the allegations.
Hartwell is seeking unpaid wages as well as compensation for missed meal times and breaks and “unspecified monetary damages for unfair business practices and civil penalties for labour code violations”. Hartwell also claims Netflix should have considered the contestants as employees rather than independent contractors.
All these elements, as well as Jane Campion’s comments about the streaming giant likely to be “more picky” about the projects it takes on, spell difficult times ahead for Netflix. They’re not the biggest player in the game, although they keep spending money like they are.
That’s not to say the company aren’t trying hard to turn things around. They’ve just released The Gray Man in cinemas and the Ryan Gosling-starring film will arrive on the streaming service this Friday. It’s reportedly the most expensive film Netflix has made so far with a budget of $200 million.
The response to The Gray Man has been mixed and while there’s no official numbers available just yet, according to Deadline, The Gray Man is lagging, badly, having estimated that The Gray Man has done under $200,000 in its opening weekend in the US. Compare that to the $1.25 million Red Notice achieved in the same time.
It’s hard to say why this has happened. It wasn’t that long ago that Netflix was producing critically acclaimed films like The Irishman and Roma, but perhaps they have adopted a mentality of more is more and are focusing on quantity over quality.
Netflix is still probably raking in a lot of money, so it’s a fair tactic, but when combined with the tricky times we live in and competition from other streaming platforms, it might not be the best plan. Regardless, it’s now clear that Netflix needs to reinvent itself and their content in order to not only stop losing subscribers, but to gain some back.