Netflix misses subscriber target, shares fall on weak forecast

During the reporting season of October to December, the world’s largest streaming service released star-studded movies Red Notice and Don’t Look Up.

Published On 20 Jan 2022

Netflix Inc fell short of Wall Street forecasts for new subscribers at the end of last year and offered a weaker-than-expected forecast for early 2022 as rivals amped up the competition in the battle for streaming television viewers.

The world’s largest streaming service added 8.3 million customers from October to December, when it released a heavy lineup of new programming including the star-studded movies Red Notice and Don’t Look Up and a new season of The Witcher.

Industry analysts had projected Netflix would add 8.4 million customers, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Shares of Netflix dropped 10 percent in after-hours trading on Thursday.

The company’s global subscriber total reached 221.8 million.

Netflix last week raised prices in its biggest market, the United States and Canada, where analysts say growth is stagnating. The company is now looking for growth overseas.

The company rode a roller coaster during the coronavirus pandemic, with steep growth early in 2020 when people were staying home and movie theatres were closed, followed by a slowdown in 2021. Netflix picked up more than 36 million customers in 2020, and 18.2 million in 2021.

In 2022, Netflix’s subscriber growth had been expected to stabilise and return to the pace logged before the pandemic, analysts say. The company’s upcoming slate includes new instalments of Ozark, Bridgerton and Stranger Things and a three-part Kanye West documentary.

But competitors including Walt Disney Co and AT&T Inc’s HBO Max are pouring billions into creating new programming to grab a share of the streaming market.

Netflix reported fourth-quarter revenue of $7.71bn, in line with estimates of $7.71bn.

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