Netflix accounting chief exits after three months

Netflix on Friday disclosed that the streaming giant’s principal accounting officer, Ken Barker, has resigned, effective October 7.

It comes roughly just three months after Barker had joined Netflix in late June. Before Netflix, Barker served as SVP of finance at gaming company Electronic Arts.

According to an 8-K filling, Barker’s exit “was a personal decision and not the result of any disagreement” with Netflix “on any matter relating to the Company’s financials, operations, policies, or practices.” Netflix CFO Spencer Neumann will assume the role of principal accounting officer as the company searches for a permanent replacement.  

Barker’s abrupt exit comes as the SVOD leader is working to keep costs in check, while finding new avenues for growth. One notable effort includes plans to launch a lower-cost ad-supported tier, which marks a significant change for the streamer that had long stood by an ad-free model. A subscription tier with ads could cost between $7-9 per month, according to an August Bloomberg report. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal said the streamer could charge advertisers up to $65 for 1,000 impressions (or CPM/cost per thousand). Netflix itself told Deadline last month the WSJ report of charging hefty ad rates was “speculation at this point,” with ad pricing and timelines still to be determined.

Netflix made recent key hires to support its foray into the ad space, including nabbing Snapchat executives Jeremi Gorman and Peter Naylor. Both are joining in late September with Gorman taking on the role of president of worldwide advertising and Naylor serving as VP of advertising sales.

Netflix previously tapped Microsoft as its technology and ad-sales partner for the forthcoming subscription tier.

And as it looks to curb spending, the Wall Street Journal on Friday, citing people familiar with the situation, reported that Netflix is changing the way it pays some comedians featured in the service’s comedy specials. The move could cut costs and transfer some of the financial burden to artists, per the WSJ, with Netflix starting to license new specials rather than purchase outright.