- Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett will step down after seven years in the position, the company announced in a news release.
- Since Bennett joined Netflix in 2012, the company grew from 25.7 million paid subscribers in Q3 of that year to 139 million at the end of 2018, Variety reported. Netflix also increased its marketing spend by 65% in 2018 to $2.37 billion and is expected to increase that by 22% to reach nearly $2.9 billion.
- Before joining Netflix, Bennett spent nine years at Warner Bros., most recently as VP of interactive, worldwide marketing, overseeing international digital campaigns for films. He plans to stay on at Netflix until a new CMO is named.
After helping Netflix to achieve massive growth over the past seven years, Bennett's departure is significant. While his replacement will have big shoes to fill, Netflix will likely hire a marketing leader set to guide the company into the next phase, where the streaming market is becoming more competitive and platforms strive to attract subscribers and advertisers.
Bennett leaving Netflix follows other recent executive departures at the company. Netflix recently named Spencer Neumann as CFO after David Wells, a 14-year veteran of the company, stepped down, according to Variety. Netflix's VP of international originals for Latin America, EMEA and India announced plans to leave the company, and Netflix named Bela Bajaria, previously VP of content acquisition, to lead international non-English TV originals.
Bennett is credited with leading campaigns for Netflix's original content, a vast portfolio that has helped Netflix stay ahead of the streaming pack. Netflix has said it will continue to invest in original content and planned to spend about $8 billion on it last year. The company wants the significant investment to help it offer a more diverse slate of content. To that end, Netflix recently released a two-minute video, titled "Make Room," featuring actress Uzo Aduba, star of its "Orange is the New Black" series, calling for more diverse actors, writers, directors, producers and stories to work with.
The popularity of Netflix's original programming earned it the top spot in YouGov's annual Buzz rankings, which asks consumers if they've heard anything negative or positive about a brand over a previous two-week period. Netflix had a score of 33 on a scale from -100 to +100. It’s video streaming rival Amazon Prime came in third with a score of 28.
With consumers cutting the cord at higher rates, marketers are investing more in over-the-top (OTT) TV, which includes streaming platforms like Netflix. OTT ad spending was projected to grow 40% to $2 billion in 2018, according to a fall update to Magna's U.S. ad forecasts for the year. The increased spend is attributed to the growing viewership of OTT, as 80% of U.S. households were projected to be reachable via OTT last year.