Today has not been, on the whole, a great day for streaming service Netflix, which saw its stock price plummet by record amounts earlier this morning in response to a dismal Q1 earnings call. Said call involved founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings admitting that the streaming company missed its new subscriber goals for the quarter, with a strong suggestion that the company might be reaching a saturation point for new subscribers overall. (And if there’s one thing Wall Street hates, it’s stability, instead of ever-rising, increasingly improbable growth; hence reports that Netflix will soon be sniffing out more cash for itself by cracking down on password sharing planet-wide.)
Amidst the chaos, The Wrap released a quieter report this afternoon, one focused on the company’s once vaunted Original Animation department—reporting, among other things, that Phil Rynda, Netflix Director of Creative Leadership and Development for Original Animation, had been let go from the company this week, and that several high-profile animated projects, most notably the much-anticipated animated adaptation of Jeff Smith’s beloved comic series Bone, were dead at the service.
The Bone show is a blow, for sure; fans have been waiting for Smith’s all-ages adventure comic, seemingly a natural fit for animation, to get a worthy adaptation for years. But the report, written by Drew Taylor, also delves into Netflix’s overall treatment of animation creatives, who were once lured to the company with promises of creative freedom, and are now frequently tossed stacks of data to justify the company’s limited advertising for, and support of, its animated shows.
Case in point: The company’s slow response earlier this month to the news that Elizabeth Ito’s excellent (and already canceled) City Of Ghosts had won a Peabody Award. Ito was forced to basically launch a single-person campaign to even get the service to acknowledge the victory; this, after Netflix kept her in suspense about whether the show would get another season.
Overall, it’s a grim picture—especially since almost every conversation with big name creators includes a line like “So-and-so is now at Cartoon Network.” Meanwhile, Netflix is apparently holding up, as its target animated show at the moment, a series that it doesn’t even produce, but only licenses from Dreamworks: The Boss Baby, which is set to get a second animated TV series at the network later this year.