Flix

Netflix crushes quarterly subscriber expectations thanks to fan faves like “Wednesday”

Friday, January 20, 2023 by Robinhood Snacks |
Wednesdays are for streaming (Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

Wednesdays are for streaming (Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

Autoplaying the next episode… just one more. Netflix shares surged 7% after the bell yesterday after it announced a subscription shocker: millions more subs than expected. The streaming OG added 7.7M paid subscribers last quarter — way better than the 4.5M forecast — as folks signed up to binge faves like “Emily in Paris.”

  • Top quarterly hits: “Wednesday” was Netflix’s third most popular series ever, while “Harry & Meghan” was its second most popular docuseries. “Glass Onion” got big views too.

  • Major plot twist: Netflix announced that its founder and longtime leader, Reed Hastings, would be stepping down from his position as co-CEO.

  • Anticlimax: Netflix experienced its slowest quarterly revenue growth of all time (sales up less than 2% from last year) and badly missed on profit expectations (think: $55M compared to $1.4B the previous quarter).

When the ad hits on a cliffhanger… This was Netflix’s first quarter that included revenue from its $7/month ad-supported offering, which launched in November. But the word “ads” was mentioned just three times in its earnings report (“advertising” got four mentions). Still, Netflix said it was “pleased with the early results, with still much more to do.” Analysts say they haven’t seen much demand for the cheaper ad tier, which accounted for only 9% of November sign-ups.

THE TAKEAWAY

Netflix’s one-number era could be over… Despite disappointing earnings and sluggish revenue growth, investors boosted Netflix stock after hearing its headline subscriber number — which has historically been the focus. But going forward Netflix says it will no longer give subscriber forecasts as it prioritizes revenue growth in this saturated streaming market. Ads are part of the new strategy. Netflix is also launching paid sharing to crack down (and profit from) password mooching.