For years, Netflix has been seen as a beacon for the future of entertainment. However, news of subscriber drops, heavy losses and huge layoffs have burst the bubble. Will Netflix’s animation cuts impact their anime plans?
There’s a lot of noise and concern surrounding the platform’s animated content right now. We’ve tried to sum up everything as concisely as possible, while also providing links to other sources if you’re seeking additional info.
Netflix Cuts Animation Departments
In April 2022, Netflix reported that it had lost subscribers for the first time in a decade. The news caught a lot of people by surprise and saw the company’s share price plummet by 35%.
Overnight, Netflix lost $54 billion of its market value.
The results have since been followed by a change to its pricing plan and, more importantly, huge layoffs in certain departments.
One of the biggest affected departments at Netflix appears to be animation. Variety reported that 70 part-time roles in their animation studio have been removed, while freelancers have also had their ties with the platform cut.
Anime Cancelled by Netflix
So far, many of the animated series cancelled by Netflix are series produced in America or elsewhere in the West.
One of the most high-profile cuts so far is Wings of Fire, an anime adaptation of the fantasy novels by Tui T. Sutherland that had been in production since 2020.
Many other projects have been cancelled, however. Here is a taste of some of the series cancelled at the time of writing.
- Toil and Trouble
- The Twits
The original creator of Bone commented on their Netflix cancellation in a sketch on Twitter:
More shows could be cancelled over the coming months, especially with Netflix predicting further subscriber losses as it increases its prices.
Will Netflix’s Results Impact Future Anime Production?
The good news for anime fans is that the current cuts look to be primarily impacting shows co-produced or financed by Netflix. That, combined with Netflix’s Asia results, may ensure their anime production remains unchanged.
While many American animation projects have been cancelled, series for which Netflix has simply purchased the broadcasting rights have largely remained untouched for now.
Reports suggest that Riot Game’s Arcane Season 2, for example, isn’t being cancelled. The hit series is only broadcast by Netflix, which doesn’t have any financial input regarding production.
Much of Netflix's anime content follows a similar model. Series such as Komi Can’t Communicate are produced, financed and often broadcast domestically under traditional methods before being distributed internationally via Netflix.
It has also been reported that, despite poor overall results, Asia is a bright spot for Netflix. According to Reuters, 90% of Netflix subscribers in Japan watch their anime content, and their success has led to competitors moving into the market, such as Disney Plus’ Summer Time Rendering.
At a time when growth in traditional streaming markets is being squeezed by intense competition, Netflix may turn to emerging markets in Asia to regain growth.
While the current situation in the USA may be indicative of future problems for anime in the streaming world, for now at least, their Japanese content is here to stay.