news The WGA’s Latest Netflix Shutdown Was CEO Pay Packages

Netflix shareholders voted against a motion to approve pay packages for the streamer’s top executives, right after the WGA told them to do just that.

In a shareholder meeting that streamed Thursday, shareholders voted “no” on a “Say on Pay” proposal that pertained to how much compensation Co-CEOs Greg Peters and Ted Sarandos and co-founder and board chair Reed Hastings would receive.

It’s a non-binding vote, so it may be little more than symbolic in terms of how much Netflix’s top brass are paid this year, but it’s rare that shareholders would swat it down. Sarandos and Hastings last year each saw their pay rise to a little over $50 million each, up from $38 million, according to an SEC filing from April. The streamer’s stock plummeted in 2022 after the streamer faced a major drop in subscribers.

Netflix held a similar vote on executive pay back in 2019 and the company engaged with its shareholders on how to adjust the pay packages. Last year, only 27 percent of shareholders supported the pay package.

WGAW president Meredith Stiehm sent a letter to Netflix shareholders May 31 urging them to vote the proposal down. She also sent a similar one to Comcast’s shareholders, which holds its own meeting next week.

“While investors have long taken issue with Netflix’s executive pay, the compensation structure is even more egregious against the backdrop of the strike,” she wrote.

The letter continued: “Netflix’s content pipeline has been blocked, with dozens of projects that were in development or ordered to series as of May 1st unable to move forward until WGA negotiations conclude… “A delay in the writing, production, and release of new content may impact Netflix’s ability to attract and retain subscribers and viewers just as the company asks customers to watch advertising and pay more for its content.”

It’s worth noting that many shareholders likely voted before the letter was sent. The full results of the vote will be revealed in a future SEC filing.

The WGA has made Netflix its top villain of this strike. Picketing outside of Netflix’s offices in Hollywood has been a hot spot for WGA members, while planned protests disrupted Netflix’s first-ever Upfronts presentation, forcing it to go virtual.