Netflix cancels a slew of animated projects amid attempts to save money

Netflix on TV
Netflix on TV (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Netflix has canned a slew of animated projects but says it isn't about saving money.
  • Subscriber numbers fell by 200,000 last quarter and the company is laying off 150 people.
  • Netflix recently canceled an animated project created by Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex.

Netflix has reportedly canceled a number of animated projects including Wings of Fire, Antiracist Baby, and With Kind Regards From Kindergarten.

The news comes just weeks after Netflix also canceled another animated series that was created by Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex. Pearl was canceled earlier this month.

Now, Variety reports that more content has been slashed from the Netflix calendar, including a sequel to a documentary that is still set to go ahead.

The streaming service also scrapped "Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You," a documentary intended to serve as a companion piece to "Stamped From the Beginning, which is a hybrid documentary and scripted feature that delves into race in the United States. "Stamped From the Beginning" is still moving forward and is currently in post-production.

While Netflix continues to deal with the news that it lost 200,000 subscribers last quarter, sources tell Variety that this latest round of cancelations isn't related to that — but rather a decision based on creative requirements. Whether that is accurate, however, we don't know — the company is clearly trying to save money and has already fired 150 people as part of that plan.

Sources at Netflix stress the decisions not to move forward with these projects were creative rather than cost related, meaning they would have taken place regardless of the company's slower revenue growth. Insiders also note that animation has a longer gestation period than live-action. Given the comparatively drawn-out timeline, it's less unusual for movies or television shows to go back into development or part ways entirely over creative decisions.

Netflix is currently struggling to deal with increased competition from the likes of Disney+ and Apple TV+, both of which are cheaper. Netflix — and Disney+, for that matter — plans to launch a cheaper ad-supported tier, while plans to prevent people from sharing accounts are also in the works. Whether that will turn people into additional subscribers or not, however, still remains to be seen.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.