×

Netflix Took $39 Million Write-Down for ‘Unreleased Content’ — Was It Related to Kevin Spacey Scandal?

Netflix, in announcing its fourth-quarter 2017 earnings with record subscriber additions, said it had taken a $39 million write-down related to content “we’ve decided not to move forward with.”

CFO David Wells, during a company-hosted earnings interview Monday, said the charge was “related to the societal reset around sexual harassment.” Wells said content write-downs are not uncommon for Netflix but that “we just hadn’t had one of this magnitude.”

However, Netflix brass did not call out specific projects, and the $39 million charge set off a guessing game: What was the “unreleased content”?

Given Wells’ comment, it seems likely at least one of the abandoned projects involved Kevin Spacey, who was accused of sexual assault last fall.

Netflix scrapped its planned biopic of Gore Vidal starring Spacey in the wake of the sexual-assault accusations against the actor. The ’80s-set film had been set to be directed by Michael Hoffman and produced by Andy Paterson (“Girl with a Pearl Earring”).

In addition, Netflix suspended Spacey from the sixth season of “House of Cards” — the first original series that produced real buzz for Netflix. Last month, the company announced that it had reached an agreement to resume production on “HOC” season six without Spacey, after it was suspended in October. The sixth and final installment of Netflix’s political thriller will star Robin Wright and will run eight episodes — whereas each of the previous seasons have comprised 13 episodes.

Also possibly contributing to the Q4 content write-down: Netflix pulled the plug on a second stand-up special from Louis CK, after the comedian admitted to sexual misconduct in November.

Furthermore, Netflix suspended production on season 3 of comedy “The Ranch” after Danny Masterson left the show following rape accusations against him; Netflix said production would resume in early 2018 without Masterson.

In its Q4 2017 letter to shareholders, Netflix said only this: “We took a $39m non-cash charge in Q4 for unreleased content we’ve decided not to move forward with. This charge was recognized in content expense in cost of revenues.”

More Digital

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized by the [...]

  • Netflix Claims 'Fortnite' Is a Bigger

    Netflix Claims 'Fortnite' Is a Bigger Competitor Than HBO

    It may be mostly gamesmanship, but Netflix says it’s not really focused on rival streaming-video services from Amazon, Hulu, Disney, WarnerMedia or other big players as much as improving its own service to win share of consumers’ attention. “We compete with (and lose to) ‘Fortnite’ more than HBO,” Netflix told investors in its quarterly letter [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Turns in Record Q4 Subscriber Gain, Price Increase Weighs on U.S. Forecast

    Netflix is beating Wall Street expectations for international subscriber growth — but its recently announced price increase in the U.S. may have put a damper on its momentum in the States. For the fourth quarter of 2018, Netflix reported 1.53 million paid net adds in the U.S. and 7.31 million internationally, to end the year [...]

  • Bird Box

    'Bird Box' Has Been Watched by 80 Million Subscribers, Netflix Says

    Netflix used its Q4 2018 earnings report Thursday to give us a rare update on some of its audience numbers: The company estimates that its horror-thriller “Bird Box” will be viewed by over 80 million member households in the first four weeks following its release. “We are seeing high repeat viewing,” company executives wrote in [...]

  • Crackle Latin America

    Sony Shuts Down Crackle Latin America Business

    Sony Pictures Television is folding the Crackle Latin America subscription VOD service, which has 400,000 subscribers across 17 countries, after concluding the business isn’t economically viable. Crackle Latin America first launched in April 2012 as an ad-supported streaming service — like the U.S. version of Crackle — before switching in 2016 to a subscription video-on-demand [...]

  • Google Home entryway

    NPR Has Turned 'Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me' Into a Game for Smart Speakers

    NPR has turned its popular “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” news quiz show into an interactive game for smart speakers: Owners of speakers powered by Google’s Assistant or Amazon Alexa will be able to play along to questions about the news of the week. Just like the radio show, the quiz is being hosted by [...]

  • WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01

    BritBox Subscribers Hit Half a Million

    The number of subscribers to BritBox has hit 500,000, the streaming service said Thursday. The platform, launched as a collaboration between BBC Studios and ITV, is designed to offer U.S. and Canadian viewers the best of recent and classic British television content. The streaming service launched in the U.S. in March 2017 with a host of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content