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Netflix cancellations surge 'materially' in the wake of 'Cuties' controversy, data shows

Netflix (NFLX), facing serious backlash following the release of the French coming-of-age film “Cuties,” is seeing a wave of cancellations on the platform, new data suggests.

According to subscription analytics firm Antenna, Netflix cancellations surged 5x the normal amount following the release of “Cuties.”

(Credit: Antenna)
(Credit: Antenna)

Meanwhile, data analytics firm YipitData reported a similar trend, with the company telling Yahoo Finance that Netflix’s U.S. churn “rose materially” last weekend in the wake of the controversy. As of last Saturday, disconnects were running at nearly 8x the daily levels observed in August — a multi-year high, YipitData added.

“Cuties” has faced bipartisan blowback, with high profile politicians like Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard — who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination — hammering the film for over-sexualizing young girls. In recent days, the hashtag #CancelNetflix has been a big social media trending topic.

Yahoo Finance reached out to Netflix for comment, but the media giant said it “did not have anything to share” at this time.

Netflix — a major beneficiary of the “stay at home” COVID-19 trend and a perpetually hot tech stock — has faced subscriber losses in the past. Yet this time around, the cancellation rate seems significantly higher.

Antenna compared Netflix’s current cancellations to the last big event that caused a drop in users, which was the launch of Disney+ (DIS). Cancellations only surged 1.7x the normal daily rate following that launch, according to the company.

(Source: Antenna)
(Source: Antenna)

Still, despite the downbeat data, the cancellations should not have much of a lasting impact on Netflix’s overall subscriber base. The platform has well over 182 million users worldwide and is the clear leader in the competitive streaming space — regardless of its recent controversies.

Celebrities freeze Instagram, Facebook accounts to protest hate speech

That being said, boycotts and social media call-outs do create added pressure for big tech companies — and Netflix is not the only one facing the heat.

Earlier this week, Facebook (FB) came under fire as celebrities from Kim Kardashian West and Demi Lovato “froze” their Instagram and Facebook pages to bring awareness to hate speech and misinformation on the platform.

The boycott, which was started by the #StopHateforProfit campaign (a coalition of civil rights groups), did not seem to hurt the company’s overall bottom line, but it did call attention to issues that continue to haunt the social media giant.

Facebook told Yahoo Finance it had “no comment” on the matter, but did reference several steps the company has taken such as banning political ads the week leading up to the election. It is also expanding its “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations” policy to address institutions and movements that have demonstrated significant risks to public safety.

In August, the #StopHateforProfit campaign pushed for an ad boycott on the platform. Over 1,000 high-profile companies from Microsoft (MSFT) to Starbucks (SBUX) participated, yet the movement ultimately failed to hurt Facebook financially.

Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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