On the afternoon of Thursday, April 28, Netflix told staffers at its editorial branch, Tudum — reportedly without warning — that they were being fired. At least ten full-time staff members and writers who were contracted until August were let go “with no notice during a ‘quiet’ week of ‘no meetings,’” according to a former staffer who has since deleted their tweet.
Tudum is a self-described “fan website” that Netflix launched in December 2021 with blog posts, interviews, and behind-the-scenes content about its film-and-TV programming. The streamer staffed the site with writers and editors from established media companies like Condé Nast and Time Inc., offering them full-time positions and contracts scheduled until August 2022 to write positive and/or informational pieces about Netflix offerings. Two months after the launch, Business Insider wondered “whether the platform might be competitive with news sites used to nabbing exclusives from the streamer, potentially diluting those outlets’ publishing power.” In other words, in addition to Tudum’s stated mission of deepening fan engagement with Netflix offerings, it allows the company to preempt exclusive announcements such as trailers and premiere dates.
If you hadn’t heard about Tudum until today, we don’t blame you. Despite the resources and talent that have gone into the site, Netflix hasn’t made much of an effort to promote it. Tudum doesn’t even have its own official Twitter account to promote its articles. And as of today, the site has largely eliminated roles on its Culture and Trends team, including a number of writers of color. A company spokesperson gave a statement to Vulture noting, “Our fan website, Tudum, is an important priority for the company.”
Layoffs came after last week’s company-earnings report, in which Netflix admitted to losing subscribers for the first time in a decade. The next day, the company’s stock price plunged 35 percent, and Netflix made major cuts to its animation division, canceling series and letting staff go. Even after layoffs began, Tudum was still putting out new content. Its most recent article was published today at 3 p.m. The website is still in beta.