Netflix to downsize movie output, two film execs exit company

Netflix is taking on restructuring efforts for its film business, with two executives reportedly leaving the company as Netflix plans to scale back movie production to focus on quality over quantity.

According to Bloomberg, the company will combine its small and midsize film units, resulting in the departure of Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s VP of original feature films and documentary programming. Ian Bricke, VP of original independent films, is also exiting the company.

Both Nishimura and Bricke have been at Netflix for over a decade. Bloomberg said Netflix film chief Scott Stuber is aiming to reduce film output in order to produce higher quality titles.

“We thank them both for their contributions to making us a world-class film studio and wish them the best for the future,” Stuber said in a statement.

Additionally, Netflix’s retooled film unit will see a handful of layoffs, though Bloomberg didn’t specify an exact number. Last year, Netflix laid off hundreds of employees after reporting its first subscriber drop in over a decade.

The restructuring reports come after Netflix garnered some limelight at this year’s Academy Awards. Its films received 16 out of 19 total Oscar nominations for streamers, and Netflix ultimately won six awards, most of which were for the remake of “All Quiet on the Western Front.”

Bloomberg noted Netflix has produced more than 50 film projects per year. The company of late has made moves to bolster its presence in the film industry, including investing $848 million to build a film studio in New Jersey.

Last month, Netflix live streamed the Screen Actors Guild awards ceremony on its YouTube channel, as part of a new multi-year deal between Netflix and the film union. The live stream reached over 1.5 million views across YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, with Netflix planning to stream the event on its own platform starting in 2024.

Streaming competitor Apple, which nabbed an Oscar this year for Best Animated Short Film, is reportedly looking to spend $1 billion annually on theatrical releases to build awareness for Apple TV+. Research has indicated Apple’s streaming service has some catching up to do to in terms of popularity, as an Aluma Insights survey flagged TV+ as one of the “least essential” services.

Netflix’s restructuring plans follow similar efforts from Disney and Roku, as both those companies announced layoffs this week.