Netflix fires 3 senior marketing execs for secretly complaining about their company’s top brass over Slack, report says

The Netflix company logo is seen on a sign in front of Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, California.
Netflix fired three senior executives for airing complaints about their boss on Slack, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Netflix has fired three senior executives within its film marketing team for airing complaints via private Slack messages about company leadership, The Hollywood Reporter reported Thursday.

The executives, who accounted for around half of Netflix’s staff at that level according to the publication, had also criticized their direct boss, Jonathan Helfgot, the VP of original film marketing, THR reported, which said that while Helfgot himself was reluctant, he ultimately gave in to pressure from more senior leadership to fire the three employees.

Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.

Netflix is known for a unique company culture that it famously outlined publicly in a 127-slide deck in 2009, which stated that it valued “radical transparency” – a value that leads to intense feedback during its annual 360-degree reviews.

A Netflix insider told THR given the company’s emphasis on candor, it may have actually been the way in which the executives communicated their gripes – through Slack messages they believed to be private – rather than the substance, that got them fired.

The messages weren’t private however, an employee who discovered several months’ worth of the conversations reported them to Netflix, according to THR.

The executives’ gripes also targeted Netflix chief marketing officer Bozoma Saint John, according to THR. Saint John, a rising star in the company, has gained a reputation for her connections to political luminaries like the Obamas and fashion icons like Anna Wintour, and is known as unapologetically outspoken and a role model for women of color who have been notoriously underrepresented at the executive level of major companies.

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A-list guests are descending on Sun Valley for the annual Allen & Co. conference. Here’s who’s been spotted at one of the business world’s most exclusive events.

Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos walk with suitcases at Sun Valley 2021
Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, co-CEOs of Netflix, arrive at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference on July 06, 2021.

  • A-list guests have arrived in Sun Valley, Idaho, the site of the annual Allen & Co. conference.
  • The ultra-exclusive event lures some of the biggest names in finance, tech, and media.
  • Sheryl Sandberg, Reed Hastings, Ted Sarandos, Doug McMillon and dozens more have arrived so far.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Sun Valley conference is officially in full swing.

This week, A-listers from the worlds of tech, media, and finance are descending upon Sun Valley, Idaho, for a week of networking, panel discussions, and outdoor pursuits hosted by private investment bank Allen & Co.

The annual event, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic, has historically been a breeding ground for blockbuster deals: Jeff Bezos’ purchase of The Washington Post was born out of conversations at Sun Valley, and Disney’s $19 billion acquisition of ABC was hatched at Sun Valley as well.

Read more: Big brands like Nike and Neiman Marcus are snapping up tech companies as e-commerce takes off and first-party data becomes paramount

While we’ll have to wait and see what comes of this year’s conference, we can at least get a glimpse of which moguls have arrived at this year’s ultra-exclusive enclave.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and her husband, Tom Bernthal

Sheryl Sandberg and her husband Tom Bernthal holding hands

SoFi CEO Anthony Noto

Anthony Noto walks out of Sun Valley Lodge

David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery Communications

David Zaslav is interviewed by reporters at Sun Valley

IAC Chairman Barry Diller

Barry Diller behind the wheel of a car smiling

Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, co-CEOs of Netflix

Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos walk with suitcases at Sun Valley 2021
Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, co-CEOs of Netflix, arrive at the Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference on July 06, 2021.

Aurora CEO Chris Urmson

Chris Urmson lifts car tailgate while wearing face mask

Former hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller

Stanley Druckenmiller exits white SUV at Sun Valley

Rakuten CEO Mickey Mikitani

Mickey Mikitani arrives at Sun Valley wearing sunglasses

Greg Maffei, CEO Liberty Media and chairman of Live Nation Entertainment

Greg Maffei adjusts face mask while walking

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts

Brian Roberts waves while getting out of car at Sun Valley

Dan Rose, Facebook’s vice president of partnerships

Dan Rose gets out of SUV at Sun Valley

Disney chairman Bob Iger

Bob Iger walks into Sun Valley Lodge

Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman

Frank Slootman wearing a mask while walking out of Sun Valley Lodge

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon

Doug McMillon gets out of car at Sun Valley

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors

Mary Barra removing face mask at Sun Valley

Retired US Army General David Petraeus arrives for the conference.

David Petraeus walks holding smartphone at Sun Valley

Disney CEO Bob Chapek

Bob Chapek looking at camera wearing blue shirt

Former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong

Tim Armstrong waves while looking over shoulder

Brain Grazer, the founder of Imagine Entertainment, and his wife, Veronica Smiley

Brian Grazer walks smiling with Veronica Smiley at Sun Valley

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg

Hans Vestberg waves while holding water bottle next to "Private Function" sign

Jason Kilar, CEO of WarnerMedia

Jason Kilar holds his mask and talks to someone at Sun Valley

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick

Bobby Kotick puts suitcase on hotel trolley

Shari Redstone, chairman of ViacomCBS

Shari Redstone smiling while walking

Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal

Jeff Shell smiles while holding bag

Survey Monkey CEO Zander Lurie

Zander Lurie holding folder while arriving at Sun Valley

Former New York City mayor and former presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg arrives at Sun Valley

Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots

Robert Kraft points while standing outside wearing sunglasses

IAC CEO Joey Levin

Joey Levin standing at fence outside Sun Valley Lodge

Nike CEO John Donahoe and his wife, Eileen

John Donahoe and his wife Eileen walk together
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Investors shouldn’t over extrapolate based on Netflix’s disappointing quarter as the shift to streaming is set to continue, LightShed’s Greenfield says

Reed Hastings, Netflix’s CEO.

  • Netflix stock tumbled as much as 8% on Wednesday after posting disappointing earnings.
  • The streaming giant added just under 4 million subscribers in Q1 versus 15.8 million in the same quarter last year.
  • LightShed Partner’s Rich Greenfield says investors shouldn’t “over extrapolate” based on the poor results.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Netflix’s disappointing first-quarter results have some investors heading for the exit, but experts say the global shift to streaming is just getting started and the streaming giant will continue to benefit.

LightShed Partner’s Rich Greenfield sat down for an interview with CNBC’s Andrew Sorkin on Wednesday to discuss Netflix’s latest earnings report and its potential effects on the streaming and subscription service ecosystem.

Greenfield said that investors are “over extrapolating” based on Netflix’s disappointing earnings report and that they should recognize the overall trend towards global streaming is still in full swing.

Netflix lost as much as $20 billion of its market cap on Wednesday after the company’s stock plummeted following its earnings release.

Netflix added fewer than 4 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2021, a big drop from the 15.8 million increase it saw a year ago, and more than 2 million less than the 6.25 million new subscribers analysts had anticipated.

The company also guided for just 1 million new subscribers in the upcoming quarter, compared to analysts estimates for 4.8 million.

While the headlines around Netflix’s quarterly results mainly focus on the less than stellar subscription figures, the company did post some positives in its first-quarter release.

The streaming giant revealed it pulled in a profit of $1.71 billion in the quarter compared to just $542.2 million from a year ago. Revenue rose to $7.16 billion from $6.64 billion last year as well.

Greenfield also noted that although Netflix is facing more competition from new streaming services, cord-cutting continues to accelerate.

The analyst said Verizon has dropped 7% of its video subscribers year-over-year and Comcast is talking about losing upwards of 2 million video subscribers in 2020.

He also highlighted the potential for growth in Netflix’s overseas offerings as a big catalyst in the coming years.

“In all of Asia-Pacific, Netflix has 27 million subscribers, it’s a market with hundreds of millions of potential subscribers over time,” Greenfield said.

“So, again, it’s very easy to get caught up in the negativity and being upset about Q1 numbers, the reality is there’s a long way to go and we’re still pretty early in the transition to streaming television,” he added.

Netflix added 1.4 million subscribers across Asia during the first quarter.

The company has been hitting on all cylinders creatively as well, its movies received 36 Oscar nominations this year alone.

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Netflix loses $20 billion in market value after subscriber growth falls short of forecasts

Netflix show “Bridgerton.”

  • Netflix shares fell by up to 8% on Wednesday, erasing $20 billion in market value.
  • The video-streaming service missed its subscriber-growth forecast and issued weak guidance.
  • Netflix plans to spend $17 billion on content this year to drive future growth.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Netflix shares tumbled as much as 8% on Wednesday, wiping $20 billion off the video-streaming platform’s market capitalization. The selloff came after the company added fewer subscribers than expected last quarter, and warned of further weakness.

The media company grew its global paid memberships to 208 million, missing its forecast of 210 million. It added fewer than 4 million subscribers – less than half the 8.5 million it signed up in the preceding quarter, and a quarter of the almost 16 million it attracted in the first quarter of 2020.

Netflix also signaled its subscriber growth is yet to recover. It expects to add only 1 million memberships this quarter, down from 10 million in the second quarter of 2020.

The group’s bosses blamed the subscriber-growth shortfall on the pandemic, saying it pulled forward demand and delayed the release of new TV shows and movies on its platform. They dismissed the idea that Disney Plus – which has amassed over 100 million subscribers since it launched 16 months ago – was responsible.

“We had those 10 years where we’re growing smooth as silk and then just a little wobbly right now,” CEO Reed Hastings said on the earnings call.

Despite its challenges, Netflix grew revenue by 24% year-on-year to $7.2 billion last quarter, and scored a 140% increase in net income to $1.7 billion.

The company expects subscriber growth to rebound in the second half of this year, fueled by new seasons of “You,” “The Witcher,” and “Sex Education,” as well as blockbusters including “Don’t Look Up” and “Red Notice.” It also plans to spend $17 billion on content this year to ensure a steady flow of new releases going forward.

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Netflix’s Reed Hastings, Instagram’s Kevin Systrom, and others join billionaire investor Ray Dalio for massive charity giveaway

Ray Dalio
  • Top business executives and leaders are joining famed investor Ray Dalio to fund a massive charity giveaway coming sometime this week.
  • The leaders include Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, media mogul and Thrive Global founder Arianna Huffington, and author and podcaster Jay Shetty.
  • Last week, Dalio gave away 10,000 “charity gift cards,” each worth $100, that anyone could claim and donate. They were all claimed within two hours.
  • Dalio said in a statement he wants to encourage people to rethink gifting, to donate more to charities in a time of economic need rather than purchase “useless material stuff.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Last week, Ray Dalio, investor and founder of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, gave away 10,000 “charity gift cards” each worth $100. Anyone could claim a gift card and donate it to their charity of choice. 

All 10,000 gift cards were claimed within two hours, a sign of the massive need many nonprofits find themselves in due to the coronavirus pandemic’s economic downturn. 

Now, other leaders in the business community are joining Dalio in his effort to fund another round of giveaways. The list of leaders include Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, media mogul and Thrive Global founder Arianna Huffington, and author and podcaster Jay Shetty. 

“I was so happy that so many people signed up, but felt terrible that others were closed out,” Dalio said in a social media post

The number of gift cards to be made available in this upcoming round has yet to be determined, per a spokesperson for Dalio. The new gift card launch is expected this week. 

For the famed investor, the initiative is a chance to rethink holiday gifting amid a time of dire need. Dalio has previously spoken about inequality in America, saying in an April interview that America’s jarring inequality is a “national emergency” that is threatening capitalism.

“Imagine the impact we could have if people started giving each other the ability to donate to their favorite charities rather than giving them useless material stuff,” Dalio said in a statement.

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