Netflix misses subscriber target and offers weak forecast

Streaming service reports fourth-quarter revenue of $7.71bn, in line with estimates

Netflix 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.

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

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

The company’s global subscriber total reached 221.8 million.

Raised prices

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

The company rode a roller coaster during the 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.

But competitors including Walt Disney, are pouring billions into creating new programming to grab a share of the streaming market.

Netflix reported fourth-quarter revenue of $7.71 billion (€6.79 billion), in line with estimates of $7.71 billion.

– Reuters