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Netflix Subscribers Jumped, Removed Cheapest Ad-free Plan, but Stock Falls on Strike Uncertainty

Updated: Jan 8

Netflix gains 5.9 million subscribers in Q2, beating estimates, while stock faces scrutiny amidst ongoing strikes and potential subscriber growth concerns.

Credits: AFP

Netflix, the leading video streaming service, experienced a substantial boost in subscribers during the spring, reminiscent of its early pandemic success three years ago.

With a remarkable addition of 5.9 million subscribers in the April-June period, the company now boasts a global subscriber count of 238.4 million. This growth has been attributed to recent efforts, including curbing password sharing and introducing a cheaper subscription option.

Despite the impressive subscriber growth, investors appeared unsettled after the company's shareholder letter warned of a fiercely competitive landscape. The ongoing strikes by writers and actors unions in the US have raised concerns about potential disruptions to content pipelines, causing Netflix's stock price to drop by 8% in extended trading. Nevertheless, analysts believe the company is well-positioned to overcome these challenges and continue its growth trajectory.

Netflix's robust performance in Q2 marks its most successful spring season in terms of subscriber growth. In 2020, the company gained 10 million subscribers during the same period, benefitting from lockdowns and increased demand for entertainment amid the pandemic. However, the current situation poses new challenges, including stiff competition in the video streaming market and inflationary pressures impacting consumer spending.

To address these challenges, Netflix implemented measures such as introducing a budget-friendly plan with commercials and cracking down on password sharing. This clampdown has led to a significant number of freeloading viewers converting into full-paying Netflix members. Additionally, Netflix has phased out its cheapest ad-free plan to encourage more subscribers to opt for plans that include commercials, potentially boosting ad revenue.

Netflix Co-CEO, Greg Peters, emphasised the opportunities and challenges ahead during a recent conference call. Despite pricing changes, Netflix managed to achieve a 3% increase in revenue during Q2 compared to the previous year, reaching US$8.2 billion. However, this figure fell short of analyst expectations.

As for the ongoing strikes in the US, Netflix remained tight-lipped about the potential fallout on content production. The dispute mainly revolves around payment systems in video streaming and concerns about AI technology's impact on human labor.

Netflix's ability to continue producing new content during the strike remains uncertain. However, co-CEO Ted Sarandos expressed the company's focus on reaching a resolution to move forward.

  • Netflix gains 5.9 million subscribers in Q2, surpassing estimates, bringing its worldwide subscriber count to 238.4 million.

  • Investors show concern as ongoing strikes by writers and actors' unions in the US pose content challenges.

  • Netflix faces competition and inflationary pressures, prompting pricing changes and efforts to curb password sharing.

Source: SCMP

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