Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Netflix Reports Jump In Users

Netflix Inc. added 4.4 million memberships in the third quarter, more than the company had forecast, as viewers flocked to the streaming platform with the return of popular series and new hits such as “Squid Game.”

The Wall Street Journal reports the new additions bring Netflix’s total paid global subscriber base to 213.6 million. The company had forecast that it would add 3.5 million memberships in the three-month period.

Typically, the summer months tend to be slower in regards to subscriber additions. In last year’s third quarter, Netflix added 2.2 million subscribers, just missing expectations. At that time, the company said the big gains in subscribers it had seen during the Covid-19 lockdown were beginning to wane.

In recent weeks, Netflix has benefited from the success of “Squid Game,” the South Korean dystopian drama that made its debut on Sept. 17 and quickly became a global phenomenon. The series has gone viral with social platforms like TikTok showing videos of people replicating the children’s games, while online retailers are rushing to sell “Squid Game” Halloween costumes.

Netflix revealed in its shareholder letter Tuesday that 142 million of its subscribers have seen at least two minutes of the wildly popular South Korean drama. That’s exactly two-thirds of the company’s 213 million global customers.

But while the streaming service gained 4.4 million net subscribers in the third quarter, topping average analyst estimates of 3.5 million, the growth didn’t come from the U.S. or Canada. The company added just 70,000 users from the region in the quarter.

Netflix is also projecting a strong fourth quarter in terms of content with the return of the dark drama “You” and “Cobra Kai,” the popular series that is a sequel of sorts to the “Karate Kid” movie franchise. The major movies Netflix will drop in the coming months include “Red Notice” with Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot and the Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence film “Don’t Look Up.”

“We have so much content coming in Q4 like we’ve never had,” said Netflix Chairman and Co-CEO Reed Hastings, who was sporting a “Squid Game” warm-up jacket during the company’s video call to discuss its results.

Netflix also said it would change how it discloses viewership information. It currently reports on the number of accounts that watched at least two minutes of a show. Going forward, it will instead pivot to hours viewed for its titles.

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