Netflix director Rodolphe Belmer resigns from board

Netflix on Friday disclosed that director Rodolphe Belmer is resigning from the streaming giant’s board.

In an 8-K filed with the SEC, Netflix said Belmer’s resignation is effective October 27.

Belmer’s exit is not due to any disagreement with the company, Netflix stated.

Belmer joined Netflix’s board in January 2018, when he was then CEO of satellite operator Eutelsat. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Belmer is stepping down to join French TV group TF1 as CEO, following a failed effort to merge with French broadcast competitor M6, a combination that was meant to combat the rise of U.S. streaming platforms.

In late September TF1 said it would propose Belmer as its new CEO during a board meeting slated for October 27. Another board meeting is scheduled for February 13, 2023, when Belmer will become chairman and CEO of TF1.

It’s the latest exit for Netflix. Last month the streamer disclosed an abrupt departure by principal accounting officer Ken Barker. Barker left effective October 7, after joining the streamer just three months earlier in late June. At the time of his resignation, Netflix said Barker’s move was a personal decision and not a result of any disagreement.  As a result, Netflix CFO Spencer Neumann took on the accounting chief role in the interim as the company searches for a permanent replacement.

Belmer’s exit follows on the heels Netflix’s third-quarter earnings release earlier this week, where it reported subscriber gains and revenue growth. The company is preparing to launch its first streaming plan with ads, across 12 markets including the U.S., in early November.

On the earnings call, executives also said Netflix plans to roll out extra fees for customers who are sharing login credentials across different households (or “extra members”) more broadly starting in early 2023, in an effort to crackdown on password sharing and monetize more users.

Netflix had indicated such plans in earlier quarters.  As it reported subscriber losses in Q1, Netflix at the time said that in addition to 222 million paying households, the streaming service was being shared with over 100 million more households, including 30 million in the Canada and U.S. market.

The coming rollout is an expansion of pilot programs already underway in Latin American markets, where Netflix has tested out charging an extra fee for users sharing accounts among different households.  

In the lead up to charging for paid sharing, the streamer on Monday launched a new feature called Profile Transfer.  It allows people using one account to transfer a profile, along with its personalized recommendations, viewing history, My List, saved games and other settings, when they start their own account membership.

Based on customer feedback it’s been getting, Netflix landed on an approach to paid sharing that it believes strikes a balance, chief product officer and COO Gregory Peters said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Tuesday.

“A key component of that is the ability for borrowers, people that are using somebody else’s account right now to access Netflix, to be able to create their own separate account,” he said, adding that it keeps all of the viewing history and information that informs personalized recommendations.

“We think that, that sort of separate account path will be especially attractive in countries where we’re launching that lower-priced Basic with Ads plan,” he continued. “That lower price obviously makes that more attractive.”  

In the U.S. Netflix will be charging $6.99 per month for its basic tier with ads. While executives didn’t disclose any price plans for paid sharing, in the few Latin American markets its tested, the company charges each extra member a fee worth roughly one-quarter the price of a “standard” Netflix plan.

Another component, according to Peters, is the ability for account owners to be able to pay for Netflix for friends or family that they want to share the service with.

“And so they’re able to create a sub-account, which we’re calling extra member, to enable that model,” he said. “We’re trying to come up with a range of options that supports customer choice, balances those considerations but also ensure that we’ve got a sustainable business model that allows us to invest in more of that great entertainment that Ted’s team has always focused on for all of our members.”

Consumer survey research by Aluma Insights over the summer found that if Netflix charged $3 per month for extra out-of-home users, 13% of existing adult users would likely cancel the service, while 12% would likely add at least one extra user who otherwise wouldn’t be monetized.

Still, Michael Greeson, principal analyst at Aluma, said he believes less than half of that 13% actually would do so.

“Netflix is a highly regarded service relative to its competitors,” Greeson told Fierce in May, noting it’s one of the variables he considers, leading to expectations that the number who actually cancel will be lower.

And he too pointed to fees for extra members as potentially piquing interest in a lower-priced ad-supported tier.

“It’s about how best to monetize password sharing, not just limit it. For some, the ad-supported tier will make sense,” Greeson said. “For others, perhaps it’s the $3/month add-on or maybe their own $15/month subscription. The point is freeloaders have plenty of options not to use the service illegitimately.”