“Cuties” turned out to be ugly for Netflix.
The streaming service has watched subscription cancellations skyrocket by 800% after the French coming-of-age film triggered a boycott in early September, analyses show. Within two days of the movie’s premiere, #CancelNetflix became the top trending topic on Twitter and a petition on Change.org garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures.
Netflix’s chief financial officer Spence Neumann didn’t mention “Cuties” in a third-quarter earnings call this week, instead focusing on the first half of the year, when coronavirus lockdowns nationwide drove subscriptions.
Neumann told investors the company “came pretty close” to meeting its membership goal of 195 million worldwide. For the three months that ended Sept. 30, Netflix added 2.2 million global subscribers — down from the first two quarters of 16 million and 10 million, respectively
But numbers analyzed by New York data analytics firms Antenna and YipitData tell a different story — that the protest, led by conservatives who claim the film’s portrayal of pre-teen girls living in Paris “hyper-sexualized” children, had made a big dent in subscriptions.
Antenna reported that Netflix lost five times as many subscribers in September’s first couple of weeks — a few days into the protest — than the company lost in all of August.
YipitData gave even grimmer numbers, putting September cancellations at 8 times of those in August and declaring the drop “a multi-year high.”