Popular video streaming and production company, Netflix, has recently witnessed a massive slump in the growth of its subscriber base. This has led to a slow start at the onset of the year and a fall of 21.79% in share value to $397.50 as of January 21, 2022.
As per reports, the investors have lost a whopping $45 billion in market value due to the aspersion that the company was going to enter a period of slow growth. Netflix is expected to add about 2.5 million subscribers to its user base in the first quarter of the year. In 2021, the company could add only 18.2 million customers, which was 50% less than that of 2020.
The current decline in Netflix’s growth is likely to continue for another quarter. The company is trying to identify key issues that have contributed to the slump. Although Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings has been of the view that competition from rival streaming services is not a problem, company management has now conceded the impact of competitors, besides fall out of the pandemic and a tough economy in South America.
On Thursday (January 20), Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings expressed his ‘frustration’ during an investor call over the slow growth of the video streaming company in the Indian market. He said, “In our experience in Brazil, it was brutal for the first couple of years. We thought we’d never break even. I know we’ve got this great business… The great news is that in every single other major market, we’ve got the flywheel spinning.”
“The thing that frustrates us is why haven’t we been more successful in India,” he also added. According to CFO Spencer Neumann, it was tough for the streaming platform to pinpoint the specific reasons as to why the subscriber acquisition did not recover to pre-Covid levels.
While speaking about the slash in Netflix’s pricing in India in December last year, COO Greg Peters noted, “We have been operating there and learning more about Indian consumers’ tastes, et cetera, and that’s broadening the offering of the service across many, many different dimensions. We felt it was the right time to decrease our prices there, to increase accessibility to all… we’re doing this through the lens of what’s the long-term sort of revenue maximisation.”
Bloomberg reported that Netflix had achieved over 6000% growth in stock value between 2011 and 2021. During that period, the streaming platform acquired over 200 million subscribers. Given that markets in North America and Europe have become saturated, the company has shifted its focus to the Asia Pacific and Africa. Owing to the appreciation of the US dollar, it has become difficult for Netflix to break even in international markets. It is expected to lose $1 billion in sales in 2022.
Netizens pinpoint slump in Netflix’s growth to its ‘woke culture’
After CEO Reed Hastings expressed frustration over Netflix’s slow growth in the Indian market, netizens were quick to show the mirror to the streaming platform. “Meanwhile Netflix’s shows in India: Leila shows a Dystopian Hindu society, ‘Krishna & his Leela’, Vir Das keeps taking unfunny dumps on India. List goes on,” tweeted TFI senior Editor Shubhangi Sharma.
She added, “Maybe the Netflix India team needs a little reshuffling. It’s ridiculous how out-of-touch their content is with the Indian people. They keep facing boycott calls as well. Indians are already keeping alternatives. It’s not an easy market to woo while also peddling a woke agenda.”
Maybe the Netflix India team needs a little reshuffling. It’s ridiculous how out-of-touch their content is with the Indian people. They keep facing boycott calls as well. Indians are already keeping alternatives. It’s not an easy market to woo while also peddling a woke agenda.— Shubhangi Sharma (@ItsShubhangi) January 22, 2022
Former Infosys Director, Mohandas Pai, blamed the slump in Netflix’s growth story in India on ‘anti-Hindu’ content of the company. “You insult the majority of Indians, hope to grow? Listen to your viewers,” he emphasised.
Netflix’s Lack Of Success In India Has Been ‘frustrating’: Cofounder Reed Hastings— Mohandas Pai (@TVMohandasPai) January 21, 2022
@netflix One big reason is anti Hindu tripe your group here peddles as https://t.co/rAxEn3NjaM insult the majority of Indians,hope to grow?listen to your viewers. https://t.co/pJzqNnwAT7
A Twitter user accused the streaming platform of being Delhi and Mumbai centric and thus failing to understand the pulse of the rest of the nation. “If you cast a Malhotra and a Dassani in a movie about Tamilians based out of Madurai, how will it pick up?” he added.
This is what happens when you give too much power to a bunch of people from South Mumbai and South Delhi, ask them to think what India will like.— The Kaipullai (@thekaipullai) January 21, 2022
For them India is where there is a Starbucks on every street, everyone eats a Bic Mac, shops at H&M and drives a BMW.
Another Twitter user stated, “This is because, India is still much sane for woke content which Netflix tries to serve. Even your non-woke content was for elites. The woke-heads at Netflix never promoted culturally relatable content.”
This is because, India is still much sane for woke content which Netflix tries to serve. Even your non-woke content was for elites. The woke-heads at Netflix never promoted culturally relatable content.https://t.co/OpozWGKK8j— Knowlajay (@knowlajay) January 22, 2022
One Twitter user wrote, “They were too focused on Bollywood and best regional cinema went to rivals. Now it’s too late.”
They were too focused on Bollywood and best regional cinema went to rivals. Now it’s too late https://t.co/zVgv19uStk— BombayMovieGoer (@BombayMovieGoer) January 22, 2022
Netflix has been under the scanner in India for peddling inappropriate content to users. In March 2021, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights took cognizance of online outrage after several Twitter users called out the OTT platform for wrongfully depicting children in the web series “Bombay Begums”. The apex child rights body had asked Netflix to stop streaming the web series, citing an inappropriate portrayal of children.