Netflix Lays Off Workers From Its Tudum Fandom Website 5 Months After Launch

The layoffs come a week after Netflix's first subscriber loss heightened scrutiny of the company for any signs of weakness.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
Expertise Streaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation online Credentials
  • Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
Joan E. Solsman
2 min read
Netflix logo
Sarah Tew/CNET

Netflix laid off workers at its Tudum fan website Thursday, a culling that comes less than five months after the streaming service launched the site and a week after Netflix reported its first subscriber loss in a decade. The drop in viewers has buffeted Hollywood's confidence in streaming as the engine for future growth, casting new scrutiny on Netflix for any signs of weakness.

Netflix declined to comment on the scale of the layoffs. "Fan website Tudum is an important priority for the company," it said in a statement.

Five workers, whose Twitter handles match the names of authors on Tudum's site, tweeted about losing their jobs Thursday, among posts by other laid-off writers and editors that CNET couldn't independently confirm. The cuts appear to be minor compared with the size of Netflix's entire workforce and limited to the Tudum operation. Overall, Netflix had 11,300 employees at the end of last year. 

Netflix launched Tudum in December as "the official companion site" to its streaming service. Stylized as a resource for news about Netflix shows and movies and fan-focused articles diving deeper into Netflix programming, it was unveiled by Netflix's former marketing chief Bozoma Saint John, who left the company in March. 

Up until last week, Netflix's years of unflagging growth pushed nearly all of Hollywood's major media companies to pour billions of dollars into their own streaming operations. These so-called streaming wars brought about a wave of new services, including Apple TV PlusDisney PlusHBO MaxPeacock and Paramount Plus, among others. The hard pivot to streaming has profound implications for the future of Hollywood, but for people like you, it complicates how many services they must use -- and pay for -- to watch your favorite shows and movies online. 

Netflix said last week that its subscriber ranks shrank by 200,000 accounts in the first three months of this year. It was the company's first overall decline in membership in 10 years -- stretching back to the age when DVDs-by-mail were still a meaningful part of Netflix's business. While the decline was mostly because Netflix lost 700,000 subscribers as it pulled out of Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, Netflix warned that it expects to lose 2 million more by the end of June. 

Watch this: Top 5 ways to supercharge Netflix