Netflix’s Post-Crash Identity Crisis

Reed Hastings
Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images
Matthew Belloni
April 22, 2022

“It’s an orgasm of Schadenfreude.” That’s how a veteran producer described to me the feeling around town this week. Hollywood people revel in failures—in a business where nobody knows anything, everyone knows they’re better than the guy who just flopped—but this is different. A Netflix Nosedive, The Great Netflix Correction, a “bitch,” as co-C.E.O. Reed Hastings described the situation at a town hall yesterday, I’m told. Whatever you call it when your growth engine sputters and your stock chart resembles the White Cliffs of Dover. Walking to and from a table at Tower Bar on Tuesday, I was stopped by three separate people I know, all of whom conveyed some variation of “Sucks to be Netflix!” It’s a sickness, people. 

And it’s not just the headline news—that Netflix’s first subscriber loss in a decade, and its projection to lose another 2 million subscribers in the next quarter, gruesomely deflated its share price—that is prompting that revelry. Nor is it the fact that Netflix’s market cap has shrunk from $300 billion in November to less than $97 billion. To many, this day was a long time coming.