Netflix subscriber growth stalls as lockdowns ease and competition heats up

Netflix delivered fewer subscribers than expected in its third financial quarter, as the return of live sport and an increase in competition stunted global growth.

The streaming giant added 2.2 million new subscribers in the three months to 30 September – significantly lower than the 3.4 million predicted by analysts.

Revenue growth also fell short of expectations as a result but net profits rose to $790m (£610m) from $665.2m (£514m) the same period last year.

Shares in the company fell nearly 6% to $494 (£382) in after-hours trading on Wall Street.

Netflix had admitted to investors that the boost in subscribers earlier in the year would slow down, as COVID-19 restrictions were eased.

Major releases by Netflix over the quarter included Emily In Paris, Enola Holmes and The Devil All The Time, as it tried to fend off competition from elsewhere in the industry.

Competition to the firm is growing, particularly from the Walt Disney Company and WarnerMedia, which have restructured their businesses to prioritise streaming.

Major sporting competitions have also got under way again in recent months, and new services such as HBO Max and Peacock – owned by Sky’s parent company Comcast – offered fresh variety to consumers.

Netflix said: “We continue to view quarter-to-quarter fluctuations in paid net adds as not that meaningful in the context of the long run adoption of internet entertainment, which we believe is still early and should provide us with many years of strong future growth as we continue to improve our service.”

(c) Sky News 2020: Netflix subscriber growth stalls as lockdowns ease and competition heats up

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