Netflix lost nearly a half million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada during the second quarter in a surprising consumer rebuke as the streamer continues to embrace left-wing politics and woke content, including a new slate of programming from Barack and Michelle Obama.
The exodus also reflects a growing public disenchantment with paid streaming services in general, but particularly Netflix, as Americans grow weary of rising prices and over-hyped content, while embracing other forms of entertainment post-lockdown.
The streamer said it lost 430,000 subscribers domestically for the period, the first time it has bled subscribers in two years, when it lost 100,000 subscribers during the second quarter of 2019. Wall Street views subscriptions as the key indicator of Netflix’s financial health because it is the best gauge of the company’s future cash flow.
In its earnings announcement, Netflix blamed the subscriber loss on seasonality and the already large size of its North American customer base. The streamer made no mention of its increasingly left-wing content as well as the openly partisan public positions its executives have taken in recent months.
Co-CEO Reed Hastings reportedly donated $3 million to help California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) fight off the current recall effort — the largest amount at the time to the Stop The Republican Recall fund. Both Hastings and co-CEO Ted Sarandos backed Joe Biden’s bid for the White House.
Earlier this year, the Obamas announced they are turning the migration and refugee-themed novel Exit West into a movie for Netflix as part of their overall deal with the streamer. The former first couple recently released a ten-part animated series We the People, a woke re-imagining of Schoolhouse Rock.
Michelle and I are excited to share our latest show from Higher Ground: We The People. Some of our favorite artists got together with amazing animators to remix civics—and the result is a lot better than what we had in school. Check it out on @Netflix this July 4. pic.twitter.com/PlsSyq5pgk
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 2, 2021
American consumers appear to be re-evaluating their relationships with Netflix post-lockdown.
As Breitbart News reported, a recent survey showed nearly one-third of respondents are planning on canceling the streaming services they are currently using once the U.S. fully reopens. Among respondents seeking to cancel their streaming services, 46 percent said Netflix is getting canceled, while 34 percent said Hulu, and another 34 percent said Amazon Prime.
Many respondents also said they were unimpressed with hyped shows like Tiger King, I Care a Lot, and Bridgerton
For the quarter, the company reported global subscriber growth of 1.54 million, the vast majority of which came from Asia. That represents a significant slow-down from last year, when the company rocketed to new subscriber heights due to the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
Netflix also fell short of earnings expectations, sending the stock down in after-hours trading Tuesday, though shares later rebounded.
This year, the streamer implemented its latest round of price hikes on U.S. consumers, with a standard subscription increasing from $12.99 to $13.99 per month, while the premium tier jumped from $15.99 to $17.99.
Netflix has also begun cracking down on password sharing and recently eliminated its month-long free trial for new subscribers.