Category Archives: Netflix

Netflix Lays Off Estimated 150 Staffers



Netflix is laying off approximately 150 employees across the company, according to an internal memo sent Tuesday and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. This round of layoffs follows at least 10 full-time staff and contractors working under the editorial division on April 28, 2022. Those workers were part of Tudum Studio, which Netflix launched in December of 2021.

NPR reported that layoffs of employees and contractors for the Netflix site Tudum made waves online. People criticized the company for letting go of staff who had been recently recruited and for the lack of internal marketing of their work.

According to NPR, these layoffs are reflective of a change that Netflix is undergoing. In the wake of controversial programming on its platform, the tech giant recently altered its corporate culture memo to say employees may have to work on projects they find harmful.

Los Angeles Times reported that a spokesperson for Netflix provided the following statement:

“As we explained on earnings, our slowing revenue growth means we are also having to slow our cost growth as a company. So sadly, we are letting around 150 employees go today, mostly U.S.-based. These changes are primarily driven by business needs rather than individual performance, which makes them especially tough as none of us want to say goodbye to such great colleagues. We’re working hard to support them through this very difficult transition.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, a contractor who was part of a team that ran social media content promoting LGBTQ storytelling said, “This felt more of a matter of when, than if.” The contractor, who was not allowed to speak publicly, first became aware of the layoffs through the news, and hours later attended an all-hands on meeting where a group of people were informed they were losing their jobs.

Animation Magazine reported that Netflix was also eliminating two percent of roles from its animation workforce, largely in the U.S. According to Animation Magazine, at the beginning of the month, a trio of animated Netflix Kids & Family projects were nixed from the slate: Jeff King’s Dino Daycare (part of kids’ animation whiz Chris Nee’s initial slate with the streamer), Meghan Markle’s Pearl and Jaydeep Hasrajani’s Boons and Curses.

All of this comes after Netflix cracked down on account sharing (with someone outside of your household).

The Hollywood Reporter stated that in April, during its first-quarter earnings announcement, Netflix revealed it had lost 200,000 subscribers in the quarter and expected to lose an additional 2 million during the second quarter.


Netflix Is Having Financial Problems



Netflix reported a loss of 200,000 subscribers during the first quarter – its first decline in paid users in more than a decade – and warned of deepening trouble ahead, CNBC reported. According to CNBC, Netflix’s shares cratered more than 25% in extended hours after the report on more than full day’s worth of trading volume. Fellow streaming Roku, Spotify, and Disney also tumbled in the after-hours market after Netflix’s brutal update.

Netflix recently provided information to its shareholders. Here are some key points:

Netflix stated: “In the near term, though, we’re not growing revenue as fast as we’d like. COVID clouded the picture by significantly increasing our growth in 2020, leading us to believe that most of our slowing growth in 2021 was due to the COVID pull forward. Now, we believe there are four main inter-related factors at work”.

Those factors are:

  • The pace of growth into our underlying addressable market (broadband homes) is partly dependent on factors we don’t directly control, like the uptake of connected TVs (since the majority of our viewing is on TVs), the adoption of on-demand entertainment, and data costs.
  • In addition to our 222m paying households, we estimate that Netflix is being shared with over 100m additional households, including over 30m in the UCAN region. Account sharing as a percentage of our paying membership hasn’t changed much over the years, but, coupled with the first factor, means it’s harder to grow membership in many markets – an issue that was obscured by our COVID growth.
  • Other factors Netflix pointed to include: competition for viewing with linear TV as well as YouTube, Amazon, and Hulu, as well as traditional entertainment competitors. Netflix also believes that “macro factors” such as sluggish economic growth, increasing inflation, geopolitical events such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and some continued disruption from COVID are likely having an impact as well.

How does Netflix plan to fix their problem? The Hollywood Reporter has the answer to that question. Netflix is planning to roll out less expensive plans, supported by advertising. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings said that they will be examining what those plans will look like “over the next year or two”. Netflix COO Greg Peters said that advertising “is an exciting opportunity for us.” Hastings said that when Netflix launches its ad-backed tier, it would do so as a publisher, without data tracking and ad-matching that some competitors are embracing.

Personally, I don’t think the offer of a less expensive Netflix, filled with ads, is going to entice people to get a Netflix account. That’s especially true if the ads break into shows or movies in random places, destroying the mood for viewers.


Netflix is Raising the Prices on Two of its Plans



The Associated Press reported that Netflix is raising the price for its most popular U.S. video streaming plan by 10 percent. This change is going to affect most of Netflix’s 53 million U.S. subscribers.

As you might expect, the Netflix US Twitter account has been busy answering questions about the pricing change and clarifying things. The pricing change hasn’t happened yet. Netflix users will start getting emails about the pricing change on October 19, 2017, or after. Your email might arrive 30 days out from your billing date.

Netflix tweeted that the new prices are $7.99, $10.99, and $13.99. Netflix offers three streaming plans: Basic, Standard, and Premium. The Verge provided a good explanation of the price changes:

The standard tier, which allows subscribers to watch on two screens at once, will be bumped up from $9.99 to $10.99 per month. The premium tier, which is available in Ultra HD and allows users to watch on up to four screens, will go from $11.99 to $13.99. The Basic $7.99 per month plan will remain the same.

In other words, people who have the Basic Netflix plan will not see a change in price. Those who have either the Standard or Premium Netflix plans will see a change in price and will be paying an extra $1 or $2 per month for their Netflix plan beginning on, or sometime after, October 19, 2017.

The reason for the price increase appears to be so Netflix can continue to make original content.


Cleveland Comic-Con 2017



Wizard World’s Cleveland Comic-Con kicked off its third annual show this past weekend, with a pretty good crowd. Fans gathered at the Huntington Convention Center in downtown Cleveland to get their fill of comics, art, toys and several celebs. Famous faces included: Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Gene Simmons (Kiss), Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter), Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Charisma Carpenter and Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Jewel Staite (Firefly), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek) and more. Wizard World Comic Con Cleveland will return, March 23-25, 2018.


Netflix launches its own speed test website thanks to frustrating ISPs



Netflix_Web_LogoA big deal has been made of bandwidth when using Netflix, especially so after the streaming service had to arrange a payment agreement with Comcast because it was throttling customers — a fee that amounted to little more than protection money from a mob shakedown.

Netflix also publishes a monthly report that calls out ISPs for their speeds. Since that public shaming wasn’t really enough, the company is now releasing its own speed test so it’s customers can see exactly what it is they are paying for.

The new site, which goes by the name fast.com, is similar to some existing services. It’s the same, but different from what the company has been doing.

“This consumer speed test is different than our Netflix ISP Speed Index. Fast.com measures your personal Internet connection at any given time. The speed index measures average monthly speeds of actual Netflix streams during prime time hours”, Netflx claims.

The service works in every country and you don’t have to be a Netflix customer use it. It’s also free, which is always a plus for people.


Netflix Offers Unlimited Maternity and Paternity Leave



Netflix_Web_LogoNetflix announced a new policy that will greatly benefit their employees. They are introducing an unlimited leave policy for new moms and new dads. The unlimited leave policy enables a new parent to take off as much time as he or she wants during the first year after a child’s birth or adoption.

Parents can return to work at Netflix part-time, full-time, or return and go back out as needed. The point is to give new parents the flexibility they need to take care of their growing family.

I think the most noteworthy part of Netflix’s new policy is this sentence: “We’ll just keep paying them normally, eliminating the headache of switching to state or disability pay.” In other words, a new mom or dad can take as much time off of work as he or she needs, for a year, so that they can take care of their child – without having the added worries that come with a sudden lack of income.

There are some companies that offer maternity leave, but paternity leave is extremely rare in the United States. Some companies that do offer maternity leave place restrictions upon who can use it.

Those restrictions can include limiting it to women who have worked for the company for a certain amount of time, or only offering it to women who have upper-level positions. It is not unheard of for a woman to be denied pregnancy leave because the company considered her to be a “temporary” worker at any point in her career.

While some companies offer paid maternity leave, many only offer unpaid maternity leave. Netflix’s new paid maternity and paid paternity leave is extremely beneficial for their employees who have started a family. It’s time for more companies to follow Netflix’s lead.


Setting Up A Projector Room



Projector MountedOver the years I’ve spent a fair amount of money on different types of electronics. Back in the 1980’s much of that money was spent on a never-ending succession of high fidelity amplifiers and speakers. I still have most of that equipment and it still functions quite well to this day.

In the 1990’s my purchasing patterns shifted to a voracious appetite for personal computers, peripherals and software. Though I seemed to derive enjoyment at the time, I have comparatively little that remains useful today with the exception of a fairly massive 25-year-old computer desk.

From the mid-2000’s forward my computer-buying habits slowed somewhat, but I partially shifted from Windows to Apple machines. In the past couple of years my adoption of Android smartphones has mostly usurped my computer usage, completely freezing any urge to acquire new computer equipment. The computers I have – two older Apple laptops, two Mac Minis, a Compaq machine running Vista, and an Asus Netbook running Windows XP, all work remarkably well after equipping most of them with modern SSD’s. I record podcasts, write occasional articles, and do my taxes once a year and that is now the extent of my computer usage. Barring some unforeseen disaster, these older machines should last well in to the foreseeable future.

Of all of those consumer electronics purchases, few things stand out as being really enjoyable. Though I enjoyed the computers at the time, the investment in stereo equipment still delivers satisfaction, some of it 30 years on.

Today, I derive the most use and gratification from my smartphone. It is always with me and it ably handles most functions.

However, that doesn’t stop me from looking at and experimenting with consumer electronics. Back in the early 2000’s, I briefly considered buying a projector. At the time I didn’t think I had a good place to put it or use it, and the idea quickly got pushed aside. As it turns out, I’m glad that I didn’t buy one then, because consumer video technology was still standard definition and projectors of the era were expensive and primitive by today’s standards.

Fifteen years later, projector technology is radically better and far less expensive. Don’t get me wrong – it is possible to spend a fortune on modern projection equipment if you want the latest and greatest and your budget allows. However, it is possible today to get really great bargain projectors that can offer great value and performance.

When I bought my house 20 years ago, for whatever reason one of the extra bedrooms ended up as a junk room. I have no one to blame but myself – it was easy to just pile stuff in the room, close the door, out of sight, out of mind. Over the years I had given little thought about what to do with that extra room. It is fairly small – 9 and ½ feet by 13 and ½ feet, but nonetheless it could be made into a useful space.

A few months ago I started thinking about projectors once again. I purchased an Android-powered pico projector from Amazon to bring with me when I travel. I then realized a great use to put the junk room to – clean all of the junk away, and set up a larger wall-mounted projector capable of projecting about a 95” inch diagonal image on the opposite wall.

Projection ScreenI just happened to have plenty of extra speakers and an old surround sound receiver that had been lying around in the junk room for a few years. After a bit of research I purchased an inexpensive $350 dollar LED-powered Android 720p Chinese projector from Aliexpress.Com. After doing how-to video research on YouTube I purchased lumber and a friend helped me make a large wooden 16 x 9 format frame. I purchased Carl’s Place blackout cloth via Amazon, and with the same friend’s help I now have a large homemade projector screen that cost me a total of about $75 dollars in materials.

I purchased a projector wall mount from Amazon that was under $50 dollars, plus a few other odds and ends. From Walmart I purchased an inexpensive Sony BluRay player for under $50 dollars that even includes WiFi support and the important apps I need – Netflix, Amazon Videos, Hulu Plus and YouTube. I purchased a 5 input HDMI switcher from Amazon for under $20 dollars as well as well as a $15 dollar 25’ foot long HDMI cable to run up the wall to the projector. I even purchased an HDTV tuner that includes an HDMI output from Amazon for about $25 dollars. On the more expensive side, I purchased a 10” inch Klipsch subwoofer from my local Best Buy store for $300 dollars.

All together, I’ve spent less than $1,000 dollars. The resulting projector system for that price is impressive. I can stream HD content from the Internet, I can play BluRay discs, or I can watch local over-the-air digital TV. The digital TV tuner even has a USB port that will accept up to a 2 gigabyte hard drive if I wish to utilize its HD DVR functionality! All sound is routed through the surround sound receiver.

One Man Theater ChairBest of all, that once-upon-a-time useless junk room now has a great use. I have 100% control over the light so the resulting projected 95” inch 720p image is crisp and clear.

Some people might scoff at my purchase of what is essentially a no-name Chinese projector as opposed to spending a few hundred dollars more and getting a name-brand projector such as an Epson or one of the other brands of HD projectors. My reason for going with the no-name Chinese 720p LCD projector is simple – it uses a Cree LED lamp that will likely last 30,000 hours or more. Most name brand projectors use conventional bulbs that must be replaced after only 3,000 to 5,000 thousand hours and can cost $150 and up – way, way up in some cases, more than I paid for the no-name 720p Chinese projector. Especially for a first-time purchase, why not go with a projector using an LED bulb? I’m willing to spend money on electronics – if I didn’t like it, I could always go with another more expensive machine later.

It turns out that I really like the no-name Chinese projector. It has two HDMI inputs along with various analog inputs, outputs, USB and even an SD card slot. It runs Android 4.2.2 and even came equipped with a wireless mouse, along with a remote control. If I wish, I could easily also pair it up with a wireless keyboard and use it as a computer with a large projected display. The Android 4.2.2 comes with the Google Play Store so that means it has access to all the Google Play Store apps. At $350 dollars, I consider it a true bargain.

This has also been a learning experience. I’ve found over the years that regardless of how much I research something, I never really know about it until personally taking action. The only thing I would change about the room setup at this point would be to go with the so-called “Flexigray” screen material from Carl’s Place as opposed to their black-out cloth which is bright white and the most commonly used projection screen material. Because the room is so small and has light colored walls and ceiling, when the projector is on in the otherwise pitch black room it lights up the room enough to create enough stray bounce light from the side walls and ceiling to slightly interfere with the projected image. At this point I could either take steps to darken the walls, or re-cover the screen with the Flexigray material which has superior stray side light rejection properties, thus creating better black levels. I probably won’t make any changes anytime soon – the current projected image really is just fine. But, it’s something I learned and something to keep in mind for future reference.

For under $1,000 dollars, I’ve managed to create an amazingly enjoyable experience. That same money could have easily been spent on the latest gadget being pushed – say an overpriced smart watch – a dubious solution in search of a problem that comes packaged with planned obsolescence for your spending convenience.

Even though it has only been a couple of months, I already know that setting up this projector room is one of those rare things that offers genuine satisfaction and enjoyment, as opposed to all of those things that soon enough ended up unused and obsolete in a pile of dusty junk.