Netflix subscriber growth slows to below forecasts

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 21 April 2021

Netflix’s subscriber growth has slowed in the first quarter of 2021, missing the company’s own guidance forecast of 210 million paid subscribers.

The streaming giant added 3.98 million new paid members in the first quarter to reach 207.6 million paid subscribers, up 13.6% year-on-year. This is compared to the user growths of over 20% it was seeing last year during the pandemic.

The decrease in growth meant that Netflix missed its own guidance forecast of 210 million paid members globally, putting it down to the bump caused by COVID-19 passing and a “lighter” content lineup.

“Revenue grew 24% year over year and was in line with our beginning of quarter forecast, while operating profit and margin reached all-time highs,” the company says.

“We finished Q1’21 with 208m paid memberships, up 14% year over year, but below our guidance forecast of 210m paid memberships.

“We believe paid membership growth slowed due to the big Covid-19 pull forward in 2020 and a lighter content slate in the first half of this year, due to Covid-19 production delays.

“We continue to anticipate a strong second half with the return of new seasons of some of our biggest hits and an exciting film lineup. In the short-term, there is some uncertainty from Covid-19; in the long-term, the rise of streaming to replace linear TV around the world is the clear trend in entertainment.”

Netflix forecasts an 8.1% growth in paid users for the second quarter to hit 208.6 million subscribers.

Revenue for the first quarter was up 24.2% year-on-year to reach US$7.2 billion.

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