Netflix begins issuing pink slips to employees amid business slowdown

The Netflix startup screen appears on a laptop computer. (Photo by Jade87 via Pixabay/Graphic by The Desk)

Around 150 employees at the streaming service Netflix are being laid off as the company seeks to turn around its bad economic fortunes.

The layoffs are primarily concentrated in the creative divisions of Netflix’s film and television production businesses, with executives among those who are receiving pink slips.

A Netflix spokesperson said the layoffs were directly correlated to the company’s slowing revenue growth, “[which] means we are having to slow our cost growth as a company.”

“Sadly, we are letting around 150 employees go today, mostly U.S.-based,” the spokesperson said. “These changes are primarily driven by business needs rather than individual performance, which makes them especially tough, as none of us want to say goodbye to such great colleagues.”

The spokesperson said Netflix is “working hard to support them through this very difficult transition,” but offered no specifics as to how the laid off employees were being supported. The industry trade publication Deadline first reported the layoffs on Tuesday.

The layoffs at Netflix were not unexpected: The company has been exploring ways to reduce its operational costs since it reported a rare decline in streaming subscribers last month.

Some of Netflix’s executives pinned the company’s problems on password sharing among some of its paying member, with the company saying around 100 million viewers freeload off another person’s subscription. In the past, key Netflix executives — including the company’s chief executive officer — dismissed password sharing as a concern and even suggested it was helpful for business.

On a conference call with investors, Spencer Neumann, the company’s chief financial executive, said Netflix expected to pull back on its spending in response to the news.

“We’re trying to be smart about it and prudent in terms of pulling back on some of that spend growth to reflect the realities of the revenue growth of the business,” Neumann said.