When Netflix announced that its numbers in the U.S. were down for the second quarter of the year, it was a bit of a surprise. The world’s largest streaming service has been seen as almost unbeatable, but the latest report shows that cracks are beginning to emerge. While many are looking into its subscription model and pricing, there could be another factor: abortion politics.
Several Hollywood stars, producers and directors stated their displeasure and their belief that they could no longer work in the state, which gives the industry enormous tax benefits, if the law goes into effect. Some of those in the entertainment industry who were vocal about their opposition to the legislation includes Reese Witherspoon, Alyssa Milano, J.J. Abrams, Ron Howard, Don Cheadle, Jessica Chastain and others. In addition to individuals, all major studios, including Disney and Netflix, stated that if the law went into effect that they would reconsider filming productions there in the future.
That may be a mistake, especially for Netflix.
Over the last several years, the streaming giant has been busy trying to create original content to cushion itself against the imminent launching of serious streaming competitor services like Disney+, HBO Max, Apple’s streaming service, and others. Over the last couple of years, Netflix has been increasingly accruing billions of dollars in debt in the belief that the desire for their original content would offset the cost in the long run. According to reports, the long-term debt of the organization is expected to reach $15 billion and cash flow is more than three billion in the hole this year. The results of this last quarter show that the risk might not be worth the reward, especially with pro-life individuals across the country.
In first-quarter earnings—that’s roughly January to March of this year—Netflix posted a revenue of $4.52 billion, domestic paid subscriber additions as 1.74 million and international subscribers at 7.86 million. That is a fairly substantial increase and a great quarterly report. The second-quarter is an entirely different story.
According to CNBC, the second-quarter report resulted in Netflix shares were down 10% in extended trading. The company also didn’t meet most of its goals. Revenue was at $4.92 billion compared to an expected $4.93 billion. While that doesn’t seem like much, it is downhill from there.
Domestic subscribers, the group that grew by nearly 2 million in the last quarter, was down by 126,000 and only gained 352,000. Netflix also anticipated that domestic subscribers would grow to about 5 million, but only increased by 2.83 million. Netflix will also soon be losing two of its most popular shows, “The Office” and “Friends,” which will each go to new streaming platforms in the coming years and is a substantial blow. This could possibly be a dire situation, especially if Netflix continues to alienate pro-life Americans.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, stated that the company may have to “rethink our entire investment in Georgia” if the Heartbeat bill goes into effect. It was the first company in the industry to make such a bold statement about the situation and could’ve had an impact on the disappointing quarterly results.
When it comes to pro-life issues, the media and Hollywood are often content to ignore the voices of those that fall on the more conservative and pro-life end of the political spectrum. But in certain situations, sometimes the pocketbook is the only way to get the media’s attention. Across social media, pro-life supporters were voicing their disappointment with Netflix and their willingness to cancel their accounts. Some said that they did. Although there is no way to prove exactly what caused Netflix’s quarterly fall, its stance on Georgia and abortion certainly could have played a part.
In the coming years, as Netflix faces more and more competition, its ability to keep subscribers will depend on the ability to attract Americans from all over the political spectrum. In order to maintain pace and withstand its substantial debt, the streaming giant must continue filming in Georgia and ignore abortion politics.
The Hollywood system needs to understand that the more political it becomes about abortion, the less support it’ll have from the general population. Stick to creating great content and don’t worry about the politics. This is especially true for Netflix, which may find that their desire for political correctness may sacrifice what they need most, subscribers.