Just a few months after starting it, Netflix has laid off multiple employees at Tudum, an editorial wing of the company intended to boost the platform’s original shows.
Tudum was supposed to be a “fandom engine” for Netflix, designed to support its original content with original editorial content. On the site you’ll find blogs about shows like Old Enough, the popular Japanese reality show airing on Netflix about toddler running errands, or Inventing Anna, the Shonda Rhimes show about New York scammer Anna Delvey. The site also featured news about Netflix shows and exclusive interviews with the people who make them; essentially it’s designed to be a one stop shop for all things Netflix related. It was an ambitious venture that saw Netflix explicitly courting journalists and writers in media, who were paid better than most journalism jobs.
It was not immediately clear how many employees Netflix laid off or if it plans to continue the website. Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Layoffs are very common in journalism. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, over six thousand writers were laid off during the pandemic. Some of the writers laid off have noted on Twitter that when Netflix approached them, they were told that this would be a different, more stable kind of job.
In a Business Insider article published in February, employees said that Netflix wooed them with the promise of more stability and higher wages than journalism has offered in recent years: If Netflix says “We’re going to pay you a more-than-livable wage and let you continue to write about the things that you write,’ honestly, why wouldn’t you want to do that?,” one writer told Insider.
Tudum officially launched in December of last year. Today, after only 5 months, a large portion of the staff writers for Tudum including some who previously worked for VICE, have been laid off. Josh Terry, who formerly worked for VICE as a culture writer, said on Twitter that his entire team had been laid off.
“We’re just getting started. Join us on this journey as we continue to make Tudum better and better for you. Come on in!,” the site’s About page says.
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