Nearly $50billion has today been wiped off the value of Netflix as its shares tumbled by a staggering 30% as markets opened, after 200,000 subscribers cancelled their accounts due to the end of the US streaming giant’s Covid boom and its flurry of increasingly ‘woke’ content.
The Californian company’s decade of uninterrupted expansion dramatically came to a juddering halt and appeared to go into reverse after it revealed that it lost hundreds of thousands of customers in January-March this year, and could lose 2million more in April-June.
Netflix said the Covid boom had ‘created a lot of noise’ as it blamed its slowdown on the post-lockdown return to normality. It also blamed password sharing, competition from Disney+, Apple TV and Now TV, the cost-in-living crisis gripping the West, and its decision to ‘quit’ Russia – losing 700,000 customers in one swoop – because of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
However, current and former subscribers said they turned off from Netflix because they are seeing friends and family and enjoying the Spring weather instead of lying crumpled on the couch.
Others claimed ‘there’s nothing to watch’, seizing on billionaire Elon Musk’s taunt that ‘the woke mind virus is making Netflix unwatchable’ as the company releases shows such as He’s Expecting, which depicts a man who becomes pregnant.
And some Netflix users said that they cancelled their accounts because they don’t want to listen to Harry and Meghan’s ‘patronising, virtue-signalling lectures’ when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex start producing content for the platform.The couple are filming a docu-series for Netflix on the Invictus Games in Holland after signing up to Netflix for $100million. But at the opening ceremony of the sporting contest, Meghan had another dig at the Royal Family by talking about ‘service’, while her husband Harry called on the world to ‘better show up’ for Ukraine before exclaiming: ‘Slava Ukraini!’.
One Netflix user wrote on Twitter: ‘Making Harry and Meghan program directors definitely didn’t help Netflix’, while another mused: ‘Netflix has been Markled.The curse of having Meghan Markle and Harry’. And a third said: ‘The majority of the public are not remotely interested in watching content like Harry & Meg’s patronising, virtue-signalling lectures on Netflix either, no wonder their prices have gone up! If Netflix don’t serve up better content, the subscription isn’t value for money’.
Another commented: ‘Nothing on Netflix seemed interesting enough to watch.We cancelled it recently to save money’.
And one former subscriber tweeted: ‘I’m one of those who recently cancelled Netflix, largely because it’s a massive time suck and there’s nothing really good to watch.Maybe produce decent content and people will hang around?’.
Founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, Netflix enjoyed a decade of uninterrupted expansion when it began producing original content including The Crown, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Squid Game, Bridgerton and Sex Education. However, it has also produced ‘woke content’ such as He’s Expecting and My Octopus Teacher.
Upon news that it had shed 200,000 subscribers, Netflix shares yesterday plunged by 25%.If the stock drop extends into Wednesday’s regular trading session, the Californian-based company’s shares will have lost more than half of their value so far this year – wiping out about $150billion in shareholder wealth in less than four months.
The company has now started testing different ways of curbing password sharing in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru – and could extend this elsewhere if it proves successful.Bosses are also considering turning the service into a low-fee subscription supported by ads.
Upon news that it had shed 200,000 subscribers, its shares plunged by 25%.So far this year, its shares are down about 40%, after markets jolted in January when it said that subscriber growth would slow significantly in 2022
This graphic shows how Netflix benefitted from the Covid boom.Between January and March 2020, business continued as it had done in 2019 and 2018, before the number of new accounts rocketed from mid-March through to May as much of the world went into lockdown. It continued expanding through 2020, but then declined in 2021. A forecast of growth in the number of subscribers in the first quarter of 2022 shows how Netflix’s expansion has slowed dramatically
This graphic shows the net number of new Netflix subscribers last year and this year.
Netflix experienced a boom in December 2021, but its net number of new accounts went negative in March 2022. Bosses cited several reasons for the slowdown, including growing competition from rivals such as Disney+, Apple TV and Now TV, password sharing among households, the cost of living crisis and the decision to pull out of Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
Netflix said in a letter to shareholders that it now expects to lose another 2million accounts in April-June 2022
From its humble beginnings of sending DVDs to customers in the post, Netflix has gone on to become the world’s largest streaming platform but now faces stiff competition from the likes of Amazon, Disney Plus and Apple TV+
Responding to the development, Elon Musk taunted in a tweet: ‘The woke mind virus is making Netflix unwatchable’
Netflix users said how they cancelled their accounts because they didn’t think there was anything good to watch
Harry and Meghan attend the Invictus Games opening ceremony at Zuiderpark on April 16, 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands
Other Netflix users bemoaned ‘woke’ content and said that they wouldn’t put up with Harry and Meghan’s ‘lectures’
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings during the See What’s Next event at Villa Miani in Rome, Italy, April 18, 2018
Netflix is losing billions of dollars a year because of illegal password-sharing ‘marketplaces’ that offer access for just $1, experts have claimed.
The popular streaming app is missing out on up to $6.25billion annually as customers use the services to dodge the $19.99 a month premium account fee. But the firm last month launched its first major counteroffensive to password sharing by letting watchers add up to two other users for just $2 in some countries.
Netflix is not the only website to be hit by the scams, with HBO Max and Disney+ subscriptions also being ripped off by dodgy so-called marketplaces
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