Netflix shareholders voted against a motion to approve pay packages for the streamer’s top executives, soon after the WGA told them to do just that.
In a streamed shareholder meeting on Thursday, shareholders voted “no” on a “Say on Pay” proposal involving the amount of compensation co-CEOs Greg Peters and Ted Sarandos and co-founder would receive. and board chairman Reed Hastings.
It’s a non-binding vote, so it may be little more than symbolic in terms of how much Netflix’s executives are getting paid this year, but shareholders are rare to reject it. Sarandos and Hastings both saw their pay rise to just over $50 million each last year, up from $38 million, according to an April SEC filing. The streamer’s shares plummeted in 2022 after the streamer faced a steep drop in subscribers.
Netflix held a similar vote on executive pay in 2019, and the company has engaged with its shareholders on how to adjust compensation packages. Last year, only 27% of shareholders supported the compensation package.
Meredith Stiehm, president of the WGAW sent a letter to Netflix shareholders on May 31 urging them to vote on the proposal. He also sent a similar one to Comcast shareholders, which is holding its own general meeting next week.
“While investors have long contested Netflix executive pay, the compensation structure is even more egregious against the backdrop of the strike,” he wrote.
The letter continued: “Netflix’s content pipeline has been stalled, with dozens of projects that were in development or ordered to series as of May 1 unable to move forward until WGA negotiations conclude…” A delay in writing, producing and releasing new content can affect 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 main villain of this strike. Picketing outside Netflix’s Hollywood offices was a hot spot for WGA members, as planned protests disrupted Netflix’s first Upfronts presentation, forcing it to go virtual.