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Finally, Netflix Wises Up


David Bozell: Well, someone over at Netflix got the memo that their employees were running roughshod over its ability to recruit good content creators anyway - good content creators, good content that people actually want to watch. Somebody at the upper echelons of the company has figured out that a good chunk of their employees are probably preventing the recruitment of better content creation, and that what they want to create and promote, nobody wants to watch.

Netflix updated its core principles memo, which I guess is something that they put out. Well, they haven't done in about five years. But this is essentially a memo to their entire team, like this is who we are. They actually retitled it, "Netflix Culture-Seeking Excellence." But the most significant change in the memo was:

If you'd find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.

Good for them, finally. I mean, look, they had to do something. They're down 71% on the year. I mean I don't know if they can figure out another technological advancement. I mean they were first out of the block on streaming, but everybody's doing streaming now. Everyone's got that tech in their back pocket. So, that content to the home or content to device delivery mechanism, which was their signature, everyone's got.

So, now there's a content creation war going on between all of these streaming packages to get your attention, to get that $9.99 a month, $10.99 a month, or whatever it might be out of your wallet. There's only so many streaming packages that people were going to be able to afford.

Not only that, if they actually did want to entertain a bundle, so combining forces with another streaming service or two or three, which I wish some of these companies would do because there are so many, but if they were going to be an attractive partner, to be a part of a bundle, you've got to be able to recruit content creators and a comedian.

Chappelle has done his thing and contractually obligated. I mean he followed through on his contract. I think he's got one more coming, one more comedy special. In fact, Norm Macdonald, I guess his daughter... The genius in Norm Macdonald, passed away early this year, I mean he knew he would... I guess he had cancer, but he didn't tell anybody that he was really suffering. And so, he taped a comedy special in his basement and told his daughters, said, "Okay, release this if something happens to me." Then he's going to call it Nothing Special. It's great. So great! But I guess that's going to be on Netflix.

But, yeah, if you're going to recruit content talent, content creation talent, nobody wants to go through the hassle of what that entails in terms of creating a documentary series, movie, television special, TV series, whatever. No one wants to go through the hassle of doing that, tell what they think is a compelling story, and then have the employees of the company that's distributing your content bitch about it and protest about it and try to sink it. Nobody wants to deal with that.

So, Netflix had to basically put its employees in check. They're basically telling their employees, "Stop complaining, stop making life difficult for us. If you don't like what we choose in terms of our content choices, go find another place to work." So it'll be interesting to see how that shakes out. But good on Netflix.


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