In a new poll, an overwhelming majority of subscribers to Netflix say they will leave the platform if it starts producing "politically objectionable" content.
Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers in Q1 2022, and an additional 970,000 subscribers in Q2 2022 — the first loss of subscribers the streaming giant had experienced in more than a decade. While the company has since recovered from this loss, in the age of competition from the likes of Disney+, Hulu, and MAX, some viewed it as a sign that streaming might not be the profitable goldmine that analysts assumed it would be. Now another threat faces Netflix, as a Newsweek poll shows that up to 75 percent of Netflix’s subscribers would be willing to abandon the service if they start creating material they find politically objectionable.
The survey asked subscribers to the four most-popular streaming services whether they’d be willing to unsubscribe from the service if the platforms released content they “disagreed with” or if it started supporting “a political cause that they opposed.” Of the Netflix subscribers polled, only about 26 percent said they would not cancel the service. A massive 52 percent of those polled said they would “absolutely” stop using Netflix, while 26 percent said they would “maybe” stop using the service.
Exactly what content would cause these viewers to cancel depends on the User. A total of 31 percent of respondents said they’d consider canceling Netflix if it contained “liberal” content, 20 percent said they would cancel over “conservative” content, and another 30 percent said that they’d leave over any political content whatsoever.
There’s a flaw with these results, however — Netflix already has content that liberals have decried as being alt-right politically, and other content that conservatives had decried as being “woke.” For example, Dave Chappelle was accused of being transphobic in his most recent Netflix comedy special. Meanwhile, conservatives have decried Queen Cleopatra for portraying the Ptolemaic Egyptian leader as black — a controversial decision that has even led to a lawsuit from an Egyptian lawyer.
If people were truly willing to leave over political content such as the above programs, one would assume that they have left already. However, it’s possible that the poll respondents have a stricter definition of “political content” than what the loudest voices on social media declare to be political. While these Netflix programs express views that are in line with certain conservative and liberal ideologies, neither blatantly expresses support for a political candidate or party — which might be what it takes for most viewers to consider something “political.”
However, there’s another possibility — that the respondents are misrepresenting their actual intentions with the hope of making a political point. They might not actually be willing to leave Netflix for political reasons, but they want Netflix to think they’re willing, which might discourage the streaming giant from creating more content that fits their opposing political mold. Whether or not that strategy is effective is another matter.
Either way, the most likely result is that Netflix will ignore this poll in its entirety. They have their own internal metrics that are far more accurate than a poll of 1500 people could offer them. If a program gets the numbers that Netflix wants, they’ll keep it around — if not, Netflix has no problem with canceling programs.