So there you have it: The world is coming to an end, and it’s all Netflix’s fault.


Oh, to be Netflix: on top of the world in many respects, but facing constant existential threats, picking fights with even bigger tech giants, having your firing practices scrutinized, tussling over the Oscars, and now being blamed for everything from weird ways of measuring audience sizes to — my favorite — the low birthrate.

The existential threats appear in the form of streaming services coming soon from Disney and NBCUniversal, which will almost certainly result in Disney and NBC pulling content from Netflix. Perhaps surprisingly, eight of the top 10 shows on Netflix last year were reruns, with several Disney shows and NBC’s The Office at the top of the list.

Hence, Netflix’s bold, $12 billion per year content acquisition budget. It also explains the company’s head-on strategy against Google and Apple — guiding users away from iTunes and toward the Netflix app — all to save the 15 or 30 percent commission that those titans take. And finally, it explains Netflix’s unusual way of selectively revealing audience numbers.

In terms of sheer virality, however, I think the latest Netflix accusation takes the prize: The streaming service is now to blame for Americans’ shrinking sex lives, according to The Wall Street Journal. A study commissioned by the Journal reports that 25 percent of people over the past six months have skipped the “nudge-nudge, wink-wink, knowwhatImean” euphemism to literally just watch Netflix and chill.

The article concedes that it’s using “Netflix” here as shorthand for Amazon, Hulu, HBO, and all the rest. But, it’s true that the birthrate has dropped big time.

And just to get a little cyclical here: A lower birthrate means fewer kids, which ultimately means fewer adults, which means fewer people to watch Netflix, which means Netflix needs to squeeze even more hours out of existing viewers, which means a still lower birthrate, and so on.

So there you have it: The world is coming to an end, and it’s all Netflix’s fault.

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