FBI agents executed a search warrant at the home of Netflix ‘Cheer’ star Jerry Harris for allegations of soliciting sexually explicit photos and sex from minors.
Two analytics companies that purport to track Netflix subscribers say the streaming service is seeing an uptick in cancellations amid the controversy over “Cuties,” a French coming-of-age film which many say sexualizes young girls.
Netflix, which releases its own data in quarterly earnings reports (the next is expected in mid-October), has not responded to a request for comment on the reported loss.
The streaming platform saw a “meaningful spike in churn rate,” according to Antenna, a data analytics company that provides information on subscription metrics and purchase behavior. (“Churn” measures the number of subscribers who cancel pay services such as HBO and Netflix for any reason; Netflix would need to replace them with new customers to maintain current levels.) In a tweet Thursday, Antenna noted Netflix was losing five times as many subscribers in the five days following the film’s release than it had in the previous 30 days.
“Cuties” first courted controversy with marketing material showing 11-year-old girls in suggestive poses but the tumult has hit a fever pitch since its release, with U.S. congressmen calling for Netflix to remove the film and asking authorities to investigate whether the streaming service or filmmakers violated federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography.
‘Cuties’: Here’s why the controversial Netflix film became a combatant in America’s culture war
‘Cuties’ controversy: Does Netflix’s new movie deserve the backlash?
Netflix has apologized for artwork for the film “Cuties.” (Photo: NETFLIX)
On Tuesday, YipitData, another analytics company, reported that Netflix’s “churn in the U.S. rose materially this weekend as a result of the ‘Cuties’ backlash” in a statement provided by company spokesperson Travis Wittenburg.
The statement said Netflix’s churn rate began to increase on Sept. 10 as the #CancelNetflix hashtag trended on social media. YipitData says by Saturday, “disconnects were running at nearly 8x the daily levels observed in August and reached a multi-year high.”
Since Netflix sells its subscriptions directly, only the company has accurate information about its subscriber count. The analytics services did not explain how they measured the losses they claim Netflix suffered.
The backlash against Netflix began when the film’s artwork debuted in late August and drew criticism on social media for showing the film’s cast of children in midriff-baring uniforms and short shorts striking various dance poses. Netflix issued an apology for the “inappropriate” artwork promoting the film, which follows 11-year-old Amy’s struggle to find her identity amid contrasting cultures.
Netflix responded to the criticism in a statement provided to USA TODAY on Friday: “Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. It’s an award winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up – and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
Contributing: Brian Truitt and Sara Moniuszko
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/movies/2020/09/17/is-cuties-controversy-costing-netflix-subscribers-analytics-companies-report-decline/3482464001/