Netflix’s business model has been to borrow heavily, invest billions in its original garbage content, and crush everybody else.
That plan hit a major bump in the road with old media setting up rival streaming services, notably Disney and Warner, and pulling many of the non-original shows from Netflix that people actually watched. (Netflix is famously evasive about its actual ratings and numbers.)
For all the bravado, the impact seems to be hitting home.
For the first time since 2011, Netflix reported a loss of 126,000 U.S. subscribers in its most recent three-month stretch. International subscribers increased by only 2.7 million, far below expectations of 5 million.
Shares dropped more than 10% on Thursday, a day after the report came out.
This wouldn’t be so catastrophic, except that Netflix has been binge spending on original content with little popularity and no real future. It alienated the studios whose support it needed, while assuming that virtue signaling would keep its head above water.
And Obama isn’t fixing this one.
Reed Hastings keeps talking international, which is an admission that its future in America is shaky, while hoping that investors keep betting on Netflix being able to dominate foreign markets.
Netflix isn’t dead. But it’s spending insane amounts of money while testing the theory that viewers will stick with it even when it no longer has Friends, The Office or any Marvel/Disney stuff on tap.
That theory is shaky.
Netflix may be the first major dot com to demonstrate another theory, go woke, go broke.