Is Netflix’s Hard Left Trajectory Causing Brand Damage?

Netflix has been leaning left for a while now. It started much sooner, but the very public outcry over their multi-million dollar production deal with former President Barack Obama, and then their hiring the former Obama administration official, Susan Rice, to its Board of Directors, and most recently, Netflix ‘s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos threatening to boycott Georgia for the state’s new anti-abortion act. Somewhat flying under the radar last month, Netflix released another liberal-slanted production entitled “Knock Down the House,” a documentary focused on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Amy Vilela of Nevada, Cori Bush of Missouri, and Jean Swearengin of West Virginia. These actions, and their weird responses to criticisms of some of their specials, and other questionable choices for content only further solidified the popular streaming services liberal entertainment bonafides. But how can they NOT be hard left, when nearly the entirety of the film industry leans far-left progressive?

With their loud virtue-signalling that they would pull out of the Peach State over the recently enacted abortion law, they may want to think carefully about how serious these boycott threats are. As Patience Griswold at Human Events has noticed: 

…as Netflix attempts to strong-arm the state of Georgia, they may want to take time for some self-evaluation.

Near the end of 2018 Netflix had racked up $8.34 billion in debt. To combat this, the company announced plans to raise another $2 billion in debt in order to continue producing original content.

But are Netflix Originals even worth such costs? As some have observed, many of them are not even very good. Yes, I watched “Set It Up  and “To All the Boys I Loved Before, and they were exactly what I expected them to be: stilted and enormously cheesy. And let’s not even talk about (Brie Larson’s) “The Unicorn Store.

 

One of their more recent controversial, poorly reviewed, and politically slanted original productions is a superhero animated series entitled “Super Drags,” and once again, this production caused a backlash among some viewers who complained that it pushes a politically-correct LGBT agenda — but the streaming service doesn’t really seem concerned. A Citizen Go petition, was started last summer to try and stop the show from being streamed on Netflix, but as expected, as of this writing, the petition only gathered close to 50,000 signatures, resulting in no cancellation and still no comment from Netflix. 

 

 

Here is Netflix’s description of the show:

 

“During the day, they work in a department store and deal with their uptight bitchy boss. By night, they tighten up their corsets and transform into the baddest SUPER DRAGS in town, ready to combat shade and rescue the world’s glitter from the evil villains. Get ready, because the SUPER DRAGS are going deeper than you think.”

 

None of this backlash they’ve been getting over these kinds of decisions from long-time subscribers, or the conservative right, seems to alter Netflix’s leftward trajectory.

 

As Business Insider put it: 

 

In March, Netflix named Susan Rice, a former UN Ambassador under President Obama, to its board of directors. The decision angered some conservatives who disapproved of Rice for inaccurate statements she made about the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.

In May, people threatened to boycott Netflix after the Obamas signed a producing deal with the service. While Obama associates said that it’s unlikely for the programs to be overtly partisan, it still drew the ire of some conservative users.

These decisions have alienated some conservatives. Republican approval of the streamer has dropped this year, while Democratic approval has risen. A survey earlier this month by brand-perception firm YouGov found that Republican approval has dropped 16% since January 1.

But Netflix hasn’t engaged with the controversies.

CEO Reed Hastings has been a vocal opponent of President Trump, and supported Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. The backlash against Rice didn’t stop the company from signing the Obamas. And criticism of “Super Drags” will likely go ignored as well.

 

That may be so, but Netflix may not be able to afford losing half their subscribers, especially now that Disney has pulled their content from the platform. As Christian Toto, over at TotoInHollywood.com had to say:

 

What’s clear is the damage Netflix could be doing to its image. There’s plenty of liberal content out there, from specific shows to platforms like MSNBC. Much of it thrives on its own terms. HBO leans to the left, and has done so for some time. Still, it offers quality content and snares enough subscribers to make it profitable.

“The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert rules the talk show realm, in part, because the TV landscape is more fractured than during the Carson/Letterman era. A smaller, passionate audience keeps Team Colbert grinning.

Will the same be enough for a streaming giant like Netflix?

 

 

Netflix may not act concerned right now, but they may want to reflect on the recent history of sports network giant ESPN, who recently began trying to course-correct their subscription service after injecting leftist politics into their sports network for years, all the while losing 15 million subscribers between 2011 and 2018. Just last fall, ESPN changed leadership, realizing that going political had been rejected as a distaste has grown in viewers and the customer dissatisfaction resulted in over a billion dollars in lost revenue. The worldwide leader in sports finally woke up to the fact that injecting politics into their banter was NOT a smart idea. Will Netflix awaken to the same reality? Hard to say, but some analysts are starting to suggest that Netflix may not even make it until the end of 2019 if they don’t change their business model.

 

What do you think? Let us know if you’re a happy Netflix subscriber in the comments below.

 

Jamison Ashley

Jamison Ashley

Comic geek, movie nerd, father, and husband - but not necessarily in that order. Current captain of this ship o' fools who is rapidly training everyone's computers and snarkphone spell-checkers to misspell 'supposebly.'