Netflix Fires PR Chief After Use of Insensitive Language in Meetings
TWIN: Netflix fired its chief communications officer Jonathan Friedland after some employees complained he had used derogatory language against African Americans on more than one occasion in meetings. In a memo to employees, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said Friedland’s “descriptive use of the N-word on at least two occasions at work showed unacceptably low racial awareness and sensitivity."
MCN Take: Friedland joined Netflix in 2011 as VP of corporate global communications – he had previously been with The Walt Disney Co. – and was named head of the communications effort in 2012. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter he said:
"Leaders have to be beyond reproach in the example we set and unfortunately I fell short of that standard when I was insensitive in speaking to my team about words that offend in comedy. I feel awful about the distress this lapse caused to people at a company I love and where I want everyone to feel included and appreciated. I feel honored to have built a brilliant and diverse global team and to have been part of this collective adventure in building the world’s leading entertainment service."
Dear White People Renewed for Season 3
TWIN: Netflix has renewed Justin Simien’s Dear White People for a third season. The series, which deals with issues of race, class and sexuality at fictional Winchester University, will return for 10 more episodes next year.
MCN Take: The show was created by Simien based on his 2014 movie of the same name, also comes from executive producer and showrunner Yvette Lee Bowser. The second season launched on May 4 and is currently available for streaming. The series is produced by Lionsgate Television.
Steven DeKnight Inks Overall Deal with Netflix
TWIN: Daredevil and Spartacus writer, director Steven S. DeKnight is expanding his overall deal with Netflix for series and other projects, including feature films. DeKnight joins a growing list of writers, producers and directors the SVOD service that have signed to long-term deals, including Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes.
MCN Take: DeKnight was a key player in the first season of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix, which is about to enter its third season on the SVOD service. He also created, wrote and executive produced Spartacus for Starz – currently showing on Netflix – and his first foray into feature films – Pacific Rim: Uprising – was released in 2016 and grossed about $290 million worldwide.
Barrons: Competing Against Netflix Challenging
TWIN: Several analysts boosted their 12-month price targets on Netflix to $500 last week, well above its current level of about $411.09 per share. Barron’s said Netflix’s direct-to-consumer distribution strength, its technology and its vast consumer data advantage forms “a large competitive moat.”
MCN Take: Barron’s added that any expected M&A wave to come in the wake of the AT&T-Time Warner merger and the ongoing fight for 21 Century Fox assets by Disney and Comcast isn’t likely to help because Netflix already has pricing power, more viewing is happening on-demand, traditional media is focused on non-scripted programming and Netflix already is providing more relevant content year-round.
Dish Brings Netflix to More Hotel Rooms
TWIN: Dish Network says it will integrate Netflix into its Evolve hospitality product in the coming months, allowing guests to log into their existing Netflix accounts or set up new ones.
MCN Take: The 4K-enabled Evolve features Chromecast built-in, so guests can also cast their Netflix content from their mobile devices to their hotel room TV. When the guest checks out of the room, their Netflix user credentials will automatically be removed from the system.
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