Netflix tanks on first net subscriber loss in a decade
Yesterday, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) reported first-quarter earnings, which confirmed a slowdown in streaming services — sending its stock down 25% in after-hours trading.
What’s the big deal? Inflation is taking its toll on consumers — and non-discretionary goods like streaming are one of the first to go:
- 35% of Americans have already cut services, and 1.5M streaming accounts were canceled among UK households in the first three months of 2022.
In its first-quarter earnings, one number mattered the most:
- 200K net decrease in subscribers — the first time it lost subscribers in over a decade.
- Netflix expects its subscriber count to fall again in the next quarter.
Streaming has become a highly competitive market — with media investors worried video streaming growth has peaked.
On edge: With subscriber growth slowing, stakes are getting higher for Netflix. According to The Information in March, Netflix execs told employees to be mindful of spending and hiring — while thinking of ways to mitigate low revenue impacts. Here’s what it’s tried so far:
- Growing internationally in countries like India — as the American market becomes more saturated.
- Expanding into gaming — with three gaming studios already purchased.
Netflix’s CEO once said it would target 100M subscribers in India — which hasn’t played out how he wanted. Four years later, Netflix has 5.5M subscribers in India — trumped by Disney and Amazon with millions more subs in India.
All roads lead to advertising: Tech analyst Ben Thompson of Stratechery argues Netflix should build an advertising business. He believes an advertising-supported subscription tier would:
- Make its service more competitive and reduce users sharing accounts — which Netflix has been cracking down on.
- Make it easier to raise prices — giving an alternative for those against higher prices.