Writing business

Ted Sarandos talks about this stock drop, the support of Dave Chappelle and Hollywood Schadenfreude

Over a three-hour dinner, Mr. Sarandos looked charming and upbeat, dressed in Levi’s and sneakers. You would never know that he had been through a series of bad luck employment-wise over the past few months. First, his father, with whom he was very close, died. Shortly after, his stepmother, Jacqueline Avant, who he was also very close with, was shot dead when she encountered a burglar in the middle of the night at her Beverly Hills home. Ms. Avant, renowned in Hollywood for her elegance, art collection, philanthropy and community organization in Watts, California, was the wife of Clarence Avant, a music mogul known as the “Black Godfather”. .

Then, in addition to Mr. Sarandos’ personal setbacks, Netflix went from rapid growth to acceleration. (Its stock peaked at over $700 per share in November 2021 and has now fallen below $200.)

Mr. Sarandos’ rise from a community college night school dropout to a video store clerk in Arizona to the pinnacle of Hollywood is legendary.

“He had a more singular influence on movies and TV shows than anyone already had,” Barry Diller told me. “He stripped the power of the old film companies that had held for almost 100 years. They are no longer relevant to defining the game and the rules of the day. If there is still a Hollywood, it is him.

Just a few years ago, the Netflix lobby was the coolest place in the world. Now it’s suddenly dark. In her “Saturday Night Live” monologue last weekend, Netflix’s “Russian Doll” star Natasha Lyonne sarcastically cracked that the “two things you really want to be associated with right now are Russia and Netflix.” .

After winning the pandemic, Netflix now finds itself in its own version of its “Squid Game” survival drama. The company has hit a cap, for now, of some 220 million subscribers, after thinking it could hit a billion with its global empire, and that threw a wrench into the future of Netflix and streaming. in general. Wall Street suddenly turned a cold shoulder on its former darling, telling Netflix, Guess what, guys, you need to make money, not just increase subscriptions.