Netflix Misses Subscriber Goals This Quarter - But Blames COVID, Not 'Cuties'

Brittany M. Hughes | October 21, 2020
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Netflix stock was down this week after it turns out the streaming service failed to hit its quarterly subscriber goals – which, I’m sure, has nothing to do with the fact that they recently aired a movie that sexualized 11-year-old girls.

According to CNBC, Netflix netted another 2.2 million new subscribers, well under the 3.57 million they’d expected to gain. Netflix’s earnings per share also failed to hit its mark, ending the quarter at $1.74 versus the projected $2.14.

The service’s subscriber gain may have been offset at least in part by the number of users who’d canceled their subscription last month following Netflix’s premiere of the French film “Cuties,” a coming of age movie that featured pre-pubescent girls in skimpy outfits “twerking” at a dance competition. The film generated heated reactions on social media and spawned multiple calls to boycott the streaming service if they continued to air the movie.

Subscription analytics firms found the number of Netflix cancellations increased to five times the daily average in the week after the film was released.

In a letter to their shareholders, Netflix blamed the quarterly miss on the coronavirus and its impact on their ability to produce new content, saying the pandemic "continues to make projections very uncertain, but as the world hopefully recovers in 2021, we would expect that our growth will revert back to levels similar to pre-COVID.” The company also noted that while it fell short of its expected subscriber numbers, it did meet its revenue goals for the quarter, reporting earnings of $6.44 billion versus the expected $6.38 billion.

Of course, neither Netflix nor the Axios report on their earnings mentions the widespread backlash against the platform for “Cuties,” which not only resulted in a slew of cancelations but also earned Netflix an indictment from a grand jury in Texas for alleged violations of child exploitation laws. 

Netflix assured investors that they still project they’ll add another 6 million paid net subscribers worldwide over the next quarter.