What do Netflix’s Tudum hairstyles mean to the media?

This is a screenshot of a website you’ve never visited before called Tudum.
Photo: Todom

So suddenly Netflix discharged – temporarily released At least ten members of Todom’s editorial board and an unknown number of members of social media teams. Apparently, employees have only been given two weeks of severance and have been asked to pack up and leave, while Netflix has confirmed it thinks Tudum is still kind of important.

If you don’t know what Tudum is, trust me, you’re not alone. The company recruited expert journalists — mostly women of color — into its Branded Content unit just seven months ago. Todom didn’t even have a Twitter account. Now the fate of the website is a bit stuck, because it’s not necessarily a “closure” but a restructuring. There are certainly still journalists working there – what are they doing? Not quite clear.

Another round of layoffs in the media game is always terrible news, especially for inexperienced journalists who have been getting a finger in the tiny crack between the door and the floor. Take it from someone who has been laid off three times – from MTV News, Mic, and Medium – in a similar fashion and for a similar “restructuring” logic: Feeling completely rubbish, the fear of not being able to support yourself is very real.

But what is not so special. Netflix treated these beloved journalists the same way it treated the declining number of beloved shows (feeling 8And go downAnd Toka and Bertie, Just to name a few): a very shocking ad before the algorithm burial with no actual marketing support; Inevitable unfair cancellation after two seasons and transition to another product. The seasons of these two books seem to be over.

Journalists facing mass layoffs have a built-in empathy machine on Twitter, where we have as massive an impact as the rants who like to be right about everything under the sun. With this effect, the tweets can go from sympathy to revelation in the ways we writers often portray ourselves as a kind of privileged class. As if we are meant to be excluded from the machinations of the tech giants of our time – as if the entire world (the actual Earth and the people who inhabit it) do not feel its repercussions. Instead of just saying, Hey, I lost my job, and this is rubbishwill become, We don’t deserve to be treated this way. Which is like, yeah, obviously, but also lined up, sweet peas, welcome to Bleak. That’s just what it is.

There is also a bit of a deception in what these writers were actually doing on Netflix. Tudum was a content marketing platform already on Netflix. While Big Red might call it a “fan page,” any journalist with experience (and there are plenty on Tudum) should know what they’re going for. Perhaps the work was satisfying. Many of the editorial staff left yesterday were working on long-term projects that were important to them and might end up looking really cool on their resume.

Todom’s wave of hiring from the marginalized in the past year looks more like a PR stunt than anything else, especially after the abusive manner in which they behaved. This is the whole “representative industrial complex”. Netflix has hired journalists from certain communities to demonstrate that they are with this diversity. But if violence against transients of Dave Chappelle disaster Is any indication, Netflix isn’t really trying to hear any actual concerns from marginalized people.

Besides, Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, has always said that the company runs employees without any problem. In 2020, it is He told CNBC It considers Netflix a “professional sports team”. Erin Meyer, co-author of Hastings’ book, There are no rules rules: Netflix and the culture of reinventionsaid his approach when it comes to employee relations is somewhat similar hunger Games. Netflix doesn’t care about that Anyonejust about the effectiveness of its algorithm, and of course the end result.

On this front, Netflix is ​​spending tens of billions of dollars on B-rated TV shows and movies to flood its service while losing a valuable IP address to its competitors. When Netflix announced a drop in subscribers in the first quarter of this monthIts share price fell. What do we know about technology companies? When nonsense hits an admirer, the people who matter least—the writers, social media managers, and marketers who are usually the most diverse departments— Get the ax.

I promise you this isn’t just a “I told you so” but more of a “let’s be honest” moment. Honestly, I understand the desire to work for Netflix at the moment. Netflix was giving huge cash for work. It has provided stability for anxiously demanding writers Something This is similar to written work. Even if it’s just marketing, I get the calculus.

In the press media, companies pay pennies for work directly related to marginalized experiences. It’s not like the publishing world is detached from these kinds of shady tactics – it’s largely owned by billionaires who could at any time decide that this whole editorial thing isn’t for them. What I imagine will happen at Netflix is ​​something similar to what happened at Medium: the staff of structural editors will become more like moderators, freelance for content rather than actual journalism. They may get paid (much less than any other salaried worker) to produce a certain amount of content, receive no benefits, and may not be able to own their work. At the end of the day, journalists have actual concerns about accountability — an actual process and ethical code that may be a major tangle for executives who feel they don’t have to answer to anyone. Especially not their staff.

So I feel scared and insecure. But there is a false concern about what really happened in Tudum. Who among us reads one article on his site? Many of us (myself included) didn’t even know that there was no working distribution strategy because we had already associated with exactly what Tudum was: a poorly named branded content strategy that was doomed from the start.

Tirhakah Love is a prominent writer on New York Magazine and host of the New Evening News dinner partya A daily email touching on everything related to entertainment – meaning movies, TV, music, technology and games – as well as politics and corporate clown. The following article was originally published in the April 29 edition. Participate For more candy.