It’s just another day in Hollywood.
Deadline reported yesterday that Netflix had announced a tiny little layoff of about 15 people in their Marketing departments after deciding to streamline the organization and better focus their efforts on marketing the actual service (or “The Service” as some call it) instead of focusing so heavily on title-specific promotions. They made sure to mention the over 6,000+ workforce currently employed, because what sounds less important than a .25% reduction in any workforce?
But that ain’t the story, people.
The story is two-fold. First, for a Company that is so laser focused on selling their filmmakers on unparalleled promotion and merchandising space on their User Interface, it’s ironic that the one value-add that comes with selling out your content to “The Service” until the end of time, post Infinity, in the entire known (and unknown Universe) is going away.
That’s right — those commercials and billboards and interstitial ads that pop up in-between you loading up the home page of your favorite news site and the actual stuff you want to read about, will be more focused on “The Service” and not “The Content”. That being said, you’ll still see overall marketing reels touting “The Service” using tons of clips flying by at mind-numbing speeds with Deadmau5 playing behind it, but you’ll rarely see commercials or promotions highlighting one specific film in the numerous ways you have grown to become familiar with them.
And yes, Netflix deals always ask for rights throughout the entire Universe.
For years, filmmakers and Producers and talent have complained about how their content is hard to find, but thank God for the billboards that suspiciously always ended up getting hung right outside said filmmaker and Producers’ neighborhoods. Everyone knows that despite the “algorithm”, people rarely search for content and often can’t find the things you’d hope they would. It’s a horrible User Experience that makes it tough to find anything, and God forbid you give a Thumbs Up to something you didn’t mean to, you’re going to be plunged into endless scrolling through cooking shows when all you really wanted to watch was Russian Doll.
So clearly, Netflix and their Marketing Gurus have looked at the data and determined that no one subscribes to one particular piece of content, and that they’re generally seeing very little return on super expensive television ads that are focused on one thing like The Irishman or 6 Underground. Why not spend that money by highlighting the entire kitchen sink instead in one thirty second ad and tag it all to “The Service” instead of “The Content”?
Hmm. Great, cost-efficient idea!
That means more general subscribers finding more content they’re interested in and less filmmakers being happy with the love their films and TV shows are getting.
Welcome to “The Service.”
As for the layoffs? Fifteen layoffs in one full swoop isn’t the story. The story is actually looking under the hood of “The Service” and asking this question instead:
How many domestic based employees were given the choice to lose their job in the United States OR move to an International Office…and how many took that option instead of getting fired?
See, there’s no more growth left in the United States for Netflix. That’s why they’re fully focused on International growth. That’s why they keep touting offices opening up in France and Italy and the Falkland Islands. That’s why you’re not hearing about more layoffs, either. Because Netflix has given hundreds if not more of its employees the Sophie’s choice of choices. Move out of the country and keep doing your job in a foreign place…or your job in the States is going kaput.
There’s a lot of people moving abroad from the Netflix HQ.
So what does this all mean for Netflix? What does this all mean for filmmakers and Producers and you, the content lover in your not-so-content-loving household?
It means that here in the States, you’ll hear less about content specifically, more about The Service primarily, and barely be able to find the movie you’d hoped was there while definitely not knowing if your best-friend who was working in Marketing is still here at all.
For filmmakers and Producers, the big question is whether or not Netflix remains the best place to send your content to rest-in-peace until the Sun swallows the Earth. For talented content creators, the Sophie’s choice is now whether or not the money is still good enough to offset the fact that no one will know about their movie. For people looking for jobs at “The Service” the question is whether or not they can speak Swahili.
Because that office opens up next Fall.