Netflix subscription cancellations skyrocket after Cuties backlash
Published in Oct 2020 / Updated in Mar 2021
Netflix subscriptions are dropping like flies. The controversial French coming-of-age movie got cancellations to increase by 800 percent.
Netflix did not produce or develop Cuties, but the moment it started streaming, people were furious.
The newly collected data created an unbreakable bond between the French movie and the decline in subscriptions.
What’s the deal with Cuties?
Cuties is a movie about growing up, but people view it as “hyper-sexualizing” young girls.
According to the French-Senegalese director Maïmouna Doucouré, the movie tells the story of Amy, an 11-year-old girl who fights against her strict Muslim parents and finds herself with a dance troupe.
Inspired by music videos and social media, the girl group learns and practices provocative and sexualized choreography while preparing for a dance competition.
Doucouré says that the movie, which takes place in a poor Paris suburb, describes her experiences. It is a social commentary, but it failed to deliver a message.
Due to provocative dance moves, the hashtag #CancelNetflix went viral.
The statistics behind the backlash
Data by several analytics firms indicate a sharp uptick in the number of people who canceled their subscriptions around the same time that calls were growing for a boycott over its airing of Cuties.
Antenna is a data analytics firm that tracks Netflix subscribers. It reported a “meaningful spike in churn rate.”
Churn regulates the number of subscribers who cancel pay services like Netflix for any reason.
In mid-September, Antenna noted that Netflix is losing five times as many subscribers in the days after the release of Cuties as in August.
Analytics firm YipitData reported in mid-September that “drop in the U.S. grew substantially due to the Cuties backlash.”
Those results showed a sharp decline from the first two quarters of 2020.
Netflix predicted a drop in the number of subscribers during the third quarter due to the easing of coronavirus lockdowns and stronger competition from streaming services.
However, they didn’t predict this kind of backlash.
Netflix VS. Texas
The movie is still on the streaming service, and it will stay there.
However, the streaming giant received an indictment in Texas for the movie’s alleged promotion of the sexual exploitation of minors.
The charges are based on a law in Tyler County. It prohibits outlets and media services from “knowingly promoting” content displaying “lewd exhibition of pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child who was younger than 18 years of age, which appeals to the prurient interest in sex.”
A Netflix spokesperson responded to the indictment in a statement:
“Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. This charge is without merit, and we stand by the film.”
If we can learn anything from Cuties, is that people are willing to stand up for their beliefs.
Despite the decline in subscription, Netflix doesn’t have real competition, and it will not learn anything from this case.