Netflix Chiefs Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings Saw Pay Decline in 2021 as Streamer’s Growth Slowed

The co-CEOs still took home a bundle: Hastings more than $40 million, Sarandos more than $38 million

Co-CEOs of Netflix Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos (Netflix)
Co-CEOs of Netflix Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos (Netflix)

Netflix co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos saw their earnings decrease in 2021 as pandemic-fueled subscriber growth began to slow, according to a Friday SEC filing.

The top execs still enjoyed a handsome payday in 2021. According to Friday’s proxy statement, Hastings received a pay package of $40.8 million and Sarandos earned $38.2 million, primarily from stock awards. Hastings received a $650,000 annual salary and $39.7 million in stock awards and Sarandos took home a $20 million salary and $17.1 million in stock awards. Sarandos also had nearly $900,000 in security costs covered by Netflix.

Netflix had a record-setting year in 2020 and its top executives were rewarded handsomely for it, with co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos bringing home a combined $82.5 million last year.

Hastings’ compensation jumped 12% in 2020 to $43.2 million, according to the filing. The bulk of that — about $42.43 million — came from stock options. The rest of his compensation included a $650,000 salary and about $147,000 in “other” compensation, which was spent on “personal use of company aircraft.”

Sarandos, meanwhile, was paid $39.3 million in 2020 — up 13% from the $34.7 million he earned the year before. His compensation package included a $20 million salary and $18.3 million in stock options; another $1 million was included as “other compensation,” the bulk of which went to “residential security costs” per a Netflix filing.

Netflix subscriber growth grew in Q4 2021 but still fell short of expectations, according to Digiday and other sources. While Netflix closed 2021 with 221.8 million subscribers, the number was less than the company’s own projections for new subscribers. The slowed growth was felt across the board in the streaming subscription market during the period. Netflix’s subscriber base grew by 22% year over year in Q4 2020 and by a comparatively small 9% in Q4 2021.