Regardless of producing international hits like “Squid Recreation” in 2021, Netflix’s fourth quarter returns present the streaming big struggling to take care of a lead over its rivals. The corporate fell in need of its projections for brand spanking new subscribers this quarter, including 8.3 million versus its projected 8.5 million — it additionally initiatives so as to add simply 2.5 million subscribers in Q1 2022, down from 4 million final 12 months (the corporate says it’s because it has “a extra back-end weighted content material slate” for the quarter). Total, this 12 months marks a downward pattern in subscriber progress — its the corporate’s lowest progress 12 months since 2015 and a couple of 50% lower from its pandemic-inflated 2020 numbers.
“Customers have at all times had many decisions relating to their leisure time — competitors that has solely intensified over the past 24 months as leisure firms all around the globe develop their very own streaming providing,” the corporate wrote in its letter to shareholders, admitting that “competitors could also be affecting [its] marginal progress some.”
Whereas Netflix has about 222 million complete subscribers, bigger conglomerates like Disney (which additionally owns Hulu and ESPN) have continued to develop at a extra aggressive tempo. Disney ended 2021 with 179 million total subscribers throughout Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+, and it plans to double the variety of nations that Disney+ is on the market in by fiscal 2023. Disney additionally introduced the creation of an Worldwide Content material and Operations group to develop its direct-to-consumer streaming internationally. HBO Max is rising too — the corporate stated that December had been its most-viewed month for the reason that service’s launch in Could 2020.
Netflix introduced final week that it plans to raise subscription prices within the US and Canada, whereas in India, the platform lowered its prices to attempt to entice extra shoppers after six rocky years within the huge leisure market. Netflix can be experimenting with one other new income stream: gaming. The corporate lately acquired the gaming studio Night School and has developed video games based mostly by itself IP, just like the hit present “Stranger Issues.” If this week’s largest tech tales inform us something, it’s that gaming can be very lucrative. As anticipated, Netflix says it’ll develop its portfolio of video games in 2022.
One other new avenue for Netflix to develop its subscriber base lies in content material advertising — the corporate launched an internet site known as Tudum final month, hiring leisure journalists and editors from publications like Attract, Vainness Truthful and Bitch Media to share unique content material about Netflix originals.