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Netflix adds 3.98 mn subs in Q1, to spend $17 bn on content this year

The subscriber guidance was a few million lower than its guidance.

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KOLKATA: After a year of astounding growth, Netflix has missed the subscriber addition estimates in the first quarter of 2021. The company has added 3.98 million subscribers globally in contrast to its six million guidance. It has estimated even lower gains for the next quarter – one million with almost zero growth from US, Canada, Latin America.

The Los Gatos-based streaming platform has cited the pull-forward growth in 2020, a lighter content slate due to delayed production as the reasons for slowdown in subscriber addition. “We don’t believe competitive intensity materially changed in the quarter or was a material factor in the variance as the over-forecast was across all of our regions,” it stated in a letter to shareholders.

However, it has topped analysts’ expectations in terms of revenue and earnings per share. The entertainment giant has posted $7.16 billion revenue compared to $7.13 billion expectations and $3.75 earnings per share versus estimated $2.97.

“We compete with many activities for consumers’ entertainment time, ranging from watching linear TV, video gaming, and viewing user generated content, just to name a few. Against this backdrop, the entertainment market is huge, giving us plenty of room to grow, if we can continue to improve our service. We believe we are less than 10 per cent of TV screen time in the US and even smaller in other regions and when including mobile devices,” it added.

The streamer expects paid membership growth will re-accelerate in the second half of 2021 thanks to its strong slate with the return of big hits like Sex Education, The Witcher, La Casa de Papel (aka Money Heist), and You, as well as number of original films including the finale to The Kissing Booth trilogy, Red Notice, Don’t Look U. It also promises a comprehensive local language offering including Too Hot to Handle for Brazil and Mexico, Dhamaka for India along with others.

Netflix will spend $17 billion cash on content this year compared to $11.8 billion last year. The company is also testing a crackdown on password sharing. It is working on making sure the people who are using a Netflix account are the ones who are authorised to do so, Netflix COO Greg Peters said.

“We’ll test many things, but we’ll never roll something out that feels like turning the screws,” co-CEO Reed Hastings said.

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