Is Netflix's House of Cards collapsing? Article icon


It’s been a dramatic week for Netflix. The fate of House of Cards, the series that made Netflix a household name, is up in the air. After sexual abuse allegations were made against the show’s star Kevin Spacey, Netflix suspended production of the sixth, and final, series ‘to review the current situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew’.

The move shows that, while the extent of Spacey’s alleged wrongdoing is evolving, Netflix has taken the situation seriously. It acted speedily, making its position clear and limiting any potential reputational damage.

Against a backdrop of serious allegations surrounding Harvey Weinstein and the developing stories relating to behaviour in Westminster, a spotlight is being shone on inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. It is now down to companies to act in the interests of their employees.  

They must do so, not because it is the right thing to do, but because companies need to publicly demonstrate their treatment of staff is conducive to a workplace culture fit for the modern world. Passivity is unlikely to attract talent or impress consumers.

Companies generally don’t like being pressured into commenting. It puts them on the back foot and bigger questions about due diligence and process can start to surface. But our bespoke reputation credit score, Populus’ established method for measuring and comparing corporate reputations, reveals that Netflix has a fairly healthy reputation in the UK. Indeed, it is comparable with the BBC.

However, its intensity score, which measures how strongly people feel about a company, is relatively low. Viewed together, these measures show that, while Netflix has a relatively good reputation, such views are not particularly strongly held. It would not take much for people to change their minds. The service may be hugely popular but, as a company, Netflix is relatively young with little reputation capital.

From Netflix’s point of view, they have been very successful very quickly, everybody knows who they are and, on the whole, they have a positive, if not established, reputation. With that in mind, last month’s news that it was hiking prices again did generate negative coverage. To then get caught up in the serious issue of the sexual conduct of its flagship show’s stars could provide further reputation risk, especially if it’s not seen to react.

 Netflix’s decision to act quickly and with clarity has certainly addressed any questions people might have about the company’s position, thereby at least protecting, if not enhancing, its current reputation.