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‘If you don’t like our content…': Netflix's new guidelines for employees

By Sayantani Biswas
‘If you don’t like out content…': Netflix issues new guidelines for employees. Read here (Bloomberg)

“As employees we support the principle that Netflix offers a diversity of stories, even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values. Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful. If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you", the memo read.

The streaming giant has been in the news for the past few weeks considering the number of subscribers. The company reported its first subscriber loss in more than a decade, dropping 200,00 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022, followed by a 35% stock price drop. The shares of the streaming giant which remained high throughout the pandemic fell almost 70% by the first quarter of this year. 

The company then said that it is exploring offering a lower priced ad-supported version of the platform to help boost its subscriber base.

The company's latest memo to its employees says that they can quit if they don't agree with the content that the streaming giant will produce or endorse henceforth. 

The memo has a new section - ‘artistic expression’ which details how the company offers an array of programming for many audiences.

The memo further emphasizes and urges its employees to spend the company money ‘wisely’. The directive titled "Netflix Culture – Seeking Excellence." Under the "Judgment" section, it encourages employees to "spend our members' money wisely."

On the aspect of difference in opinion the statement read “We let viewers decide what’s appropriate for them, versus having Netflix censor specific artists or voices".

The company's directive further added that it supports offering diversity in stories, “even if we find some titles counter to our own personal values."

“Depending on your role, you may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful," Netflix says. “If you’d find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you."

A Netflix spokesman said the company updated its culture page on Thursday for the first time since 2017. He said Netflix had spent the past 18 months discussing cultural issues internally with employees. The new language was added, he said, “so that prospective employees could understand our position, and make better informed decisions about whether Netflix is the right company for them."

Netflix had earlier given a chance to their employees to offer feedback on the new culture guidelines that was issued. A company spokesperson confirmed that they had received more than 1000 replies which helped shape their latest culture memo. 

Netflix have often been on the receiving end of sharp criticism on streaming ‘controversial’ content on cultural and political issues. Last year the OTT platform had supported comedian Dave Chappelle following his stand-up special “The Closer" on the streaming platform, which sparked criticism for remarks about transgender people that some found offensive.

The special prompted a protest in front of Netflix’s Los Angeles offices and calls for Netflix to remove the show from its platform, which it didn’t. Netflix co-Chief Executive and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos stood by the special in emails to staff. He later said he “screwed up" in his efforts to communicate with employees.

Meanwhile, Netflix on Saturday also announced a Zoya Akhtar directed Indian adaptation of the famous Archies comics which has cast star kids like Khushi Kapoor, Suhana Khan and Agastya Nanda. The movie is set to release in 2023. 

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Dive Deeper:
Netflix alters corporate culture memo to stress the importance of artistic freedom
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Swiss voters on Sunday backed proposals to make global TV streaming services such as Netflix Inc, Amazon and Disney invest…
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One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
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Get all your news in one place