Netflix has been having a pretty rough year. After ten years of dominating the streaming industry it helped pioneer, the company has come under massive fire in recent months with seemingly every bad move they've made coming to now haunt them. After an historic stock drop of $54 billion in a single night and a loss of 200,000 subscribers in Q1 of 2022 (with an additional loss of 2,000,000 subscribers expected to follow by July), the company is also facing lawsuits for not disclosing subscriber information and violating U.S. securities laws. This coming in tangent with reports revealing Netflix's inflating budgets for various productions such as Sandman and season 4 of Stranger Things. Now another report has seemingly traced all its problems back to a single show. One whose title ironically describes Netflix's gluttonous and gavel-equivalent approaches to entertainment...Insatiable.
The 2018 dramedy fell under heavy fire for utilizing stereotypes (namely fatphobic concepts) as it focused on a former overweight teenager named Patty Bladell (Debby Ryan) who gets thin and seeks revenge on her bullies. According to a new report by The Hollywood Reporter (THR), this explains a sequence of events that has led to the decline. The show was commissioned back in 2017 by Bela Bajaria who had just been appointed an executive overseeing all of their English and vernacular Original content. This didn't sit well with content lead Cindy Holland who had been responsible for some of the streamer's early hits such as House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, and Stranger Things. Holland had actually passed on the series and the report argues that the commissioning of this show is the foundation of what it describes as "the beginning of the Walmart-ization" of Netflix and that it caused “demoralization and chaos.” However, the fault does not rest with Bajaria along as the decision to allow one team to greenlight a project another had passed on was the decision of Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos' and was frowned upon by employees from the beginning. The incident between Holland and Bajaria was been referred to as "Insatiable-gate" by fellow employees.
To make matters work, Holland would go on to leave Netflix in 2020 after Sarandos said he would be backing Bajaria over her. Essentially, Sarandos' decision to back Bajaria's quantity-over-quality philosophy is what has led to the streamer backing too many shows and not delivering nearly enough success. To point out how different Bajaria is to Holland, Holland's last show at the company was The Queen’s Gambit, which became one of the most-watched shows of 2020 and won nine Emmys. In other words, Holland seemed to have a better awareness of what the audience wanted.
It's become a running joke how Netflix has about 1% quality programming with the other 99% being generic time-killers. But now, that has potentially become what is destroying the company, showing audiences actually do have some kind of standards. Question is, especially with so many competitive streamers now offering superior content and catalogues of classic films, will Netflix figure that out before it's too late? Stay tuned!