Netflix subscriptions plummeted and cancellations rose 800 percent after the controversial French film Cuties was released.
Data unearthed by two analytics firms suggests the number of people who canceled their subscriptions rose sharply as calls for a boycott of Netflix over its Cuties broadcast rose.
Antenna, a data analytics firm that tracks Netflix subscribers, reported a "significant increase in churn rate" shortly after the #CancelNetflix hashtag virus.
"Churn," according to USA Today, measures the number of subscribers who cancel paid services like Netflix for any reason.
In mid-September, Antenna found that Netflix lost five times as many subscribers in the days following Cuties' release as the company did in the previous month.
Another analytics firm, YipitData, also reported in mid-September that US churn had increased significantly this weekend due to the backlash from the cuties.
Days after the hashtag went viral, YipitData reported that "disconnects were almost 8 times the daily levels seen in August and hit a multi-year high".
Two data analysts reported that Netflix subscription cancellations have risen sharply due to growing calls to boycott the streaming service over the distribution of Cuties, a French film alleged to have hyper-sexualized children.
On Wednesday, Netflix sent a letter to its investors saying it failed to meet its subscriber target for the last quarter. In the three-month period ended September 30, 2.2 million subscribers worldwide joined Netflix. Those results were a sharp drop from the first two quarters of this year, when Netflix added 16 million and 10 million subscribers, respectively
Antenna, a data analytics firm that tracks Netflix subscribers, reported a "significant increase in churn rate" shortly after the #CancelNetflix hashtag virus. In mid-September, Antenna found that Netflix lost five times as many subscribers in the days following Cuties' release as the company did in the previous month
New York-based YipitData, which sells information to institutional investors, aggregates and analyzes data sets that track the behavior of millions of US consumers, including panels for email receipts, online transactions, app data and web traffic.
The two analytics companies wouldn't say how they got the subscription data.
With subscribers directly involved with Netflix, the streaming giant is the only company that has exact numbers on its subscription lists.
On Wednesday, Netflix sent a letter to its investors saying it failed to meet its subscriber target for the last quarter.
In the three-month period ended September 30, 2.2 million subscribers worldwide joined Netflix. Of these, only 180,000 have signed up for service in the United States.
Cuties, published by Netflix on September 9th, tells the story of a French dance group
French-Senegalese cuties director Maïmouna Doucouré has defended her film after being criticized for alleging it hyper-sexualized young girls
Those results were a sharp drop from the first two quarters of this year, when Netflix added 16 million and 10 million subscribers, respectively.
Netflix, which expected subscriber numbers to decline in the third quarter, told investors that the easing of coronavirus lockdowns, as well as increased competition from streaming services, would likely slow growth.
Cuties, directed by the French-Senegalese Maïmouna Doucouré, tells the story of Amy, an 11-year-old girl who fights against her strict Muslim parents and finds solace with a dance group.
Inspired by music videos and social media, the girls' group learns and practices provocative and sexualized choreography to prepare for a dance competition.
Doucouré says the film, which is set in a poor suburb of Paris, is inspired by her own experiences and is a social commentary on the need to protect children.
However, the film, which shows the young girls in provocative dance poses, was accused of "sexualising children".
The film has caused trouble since its September 9 release and called for a boycott of Netflix. The hashtag #CancelNetflix started spreading on social media.
Netflix did not produce or develop cuties.
Instead, it acquired distribution rights to the film after it gained widespread recognition at the Sundance Film Festival, where it debuted in January.
Senator Ted Cruz, the Republican from Texas, urged the Justice Department to investigate the production and distribution of the film, including all parties involved
Cruz wrote a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr asking him to investigate the matter
The company has legal ramifications for streaming cuties.
On September 23, a grand jury in Texas sued Netflix, accusing the California-based company of broadcasting lewd material in their state.
Netflix said Cuties was a social comment against the sexualization of young children in a statement to NBC News.
"The charge is unfounded and we stand by the film."
The Texan Senator Ted Cruz led the campaign against the film.
Cruz sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr saying the film "sexualizes young girls through dance scenes that simulate sexual activity, including a scene where a minor's chest is exposed."
On social media, he said, "Following Netflix's disturbing promotion of 'Cuties', I wrote a letter to the DOJ asking them to investigate whether Netflix, its executives or filmmakers were violating federal laws against the production and distribution of child pornography to have."
Cruz called on the Justice Department to investigate the production and distribution of the film, including all parties involved.
The campaign to cancel Netflix seemed to grow after tweets
A Twitter user tweeted the hashtags #CancelNetflix and #SaveOurChildren
The hashtag #CancelNetflix was trending on Twitter as the response to cuties was heavy
Some social media users accused the film of "child porn"
Social media users used dancing 11 year old girls to hit people defending the film
A Twitter user noted that Netflix apologized for its movie poster, saying it was "inappropriate".
Democrat Tulsi Gabbard accused Netflix of helping promote pedophilia
House MP Tulsi Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat, found rare similarities with Cruz. He agreed that the film was unacceptable and accused Netflix of being involved in promoting pedophilia and child trafficking.
Netflix Child Pornography Cuties is sure to whet the appetite of pedophiles and help boost the child trafficking trade. 1 in 4 victims of human trafficking are children. It happened to my friend's 13 year old daughter. Netflix, you are now complicit. #CancelNetflix, ”Gabbard wrote.
Despite Netflix's weaker than expected third quarter, Netflix remains a giant in the content streaming world.
The company has 195 million subscribers worldwide, including 73 million in North America.
By the end of the year, Netflix expects to cross the 200 million subscriber threshold.