The complicated economic situation in many countries, the prevention of account sharing, the introduction of ads or a possible increase in the price of subscriptions. None of these concerns translated into the results of the world’s biggest streaming player. It continues to dominate the subscriber charts, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down.
Netflix’s current results for the third quarter are almost unbelievable. Between July and September, it managed to add 8.8 million new subscribers, increasing its lead in the streaming wars with a total of 247.2 million subscribers. The closest official competitor, which is Disney+, has a score 100 million lower, and after showing its first decline for the second quarter, everyone is anxiously awaiting its current results, which will see the light of day on November 8. Netflix has whizzed past even the boldest estimates, showing positive growth in all four major regions. Europe (+ Middle East + Africa) is currently the driving force, with almost 4 million accounts added (83.8 million in total), but even the competitively charged and saturated North America (USA + Canada) with an increase of almost two million (77.3 million in total) does not have to be ashamed. The rest of Asia + Pacific continues to grow rapidly, adding almost two million (42.4 million in total) and will soon surpass Latin America, which has recently shown the smallest increases (43.6 million in total).
Shareholders can be similarly enthusiastic about the financial results, as revenues for the past three months exceeded 8.5 billion dollars, and profit is already attacking the 2 billion mark. This is mainly due to the completion of the worldwide hunt for subscription sharers, after a successful deployment, the parasites were forced to either switch to their own subscriptions or beg the main account holders for sharing fees. Netflix is going along with new subscribers by pushing cheaper subscriptions with ads. According to Netflix, roughly 30% of new accounts are already in the lowest-priced plan in countries where the plan is available. Netflix also reports a larger amount of free cash at its disposal, which has a very practical justification – due to the Hollywood strike of writers and actors, filming has stopped, so (not only Netflix) can save money in this way. While the writers have already signed the new deal, the actors have not yet, and Netflix is one of the main negotiators on the other side who doesn’t want to hear much about increasing rewards based on views or popularity.
Netflix also makes subscriber growth conditional on new content. One Piece was a worldwide phenomenon during the summer, especially among the young generation. The live-action adaptation of the manga of the same name was a success not only with critics, but also with audiences, garnering 62 million unique views so far during its launch. In the U.S., the increasingly older but hugely successful series Neckties, which Netflix licenses because it knows that viewers still can’t get enough of it despite its availability elsewhere, reigned supreme. Netflix is also subtly highlighting its sports stuff, so far the documentary ones (see Beckham), it doesn’t want to talk about sports rights at the moment, but it still wants to invest in live streaming technology and will try it out on November 14 by broadcasting two live sports broadcasts for Formula 1 titles: Desire to Win and Full Swing. Regarding the plans, Netflix has further confirmed its ambitions to start opening brick-and-mortar branches with its main brands, but this is still a long way off, much closer is the extraction of the famous Squid Game brand in the reality show of the same name. However, Netflix has saved its biggest hit in the area of its children’s production, as it has managed to attract the animation division of the Skydance studio (with ex-Pixar boss John Lasseter) from Apple TV+ to itself, further expanding its already well-established activities for the youngest viewers. The first swallow will be the long-delayed Spellbound, which was originally supposed to appear on Apple TV+ this fall, but then moved on and now we won’t see it until next year on Netflix.
But what subscribers won’t be pleased with is the change in the prices of some plans. So far, only in the US, UK and France is it raising the price of its most expensive plan, Premium, to $23 from $20, and its cheapest non-advertising plan, Basic, to $12 from $10. However, it is no longer available to new subscribers, only to existing ones. New prepFor users in select countries, Netflix is now offering the cheapest only Standard with ads ($7), which, like Standard without ads ($15.5), remains unchanged in price. So far, this price movement applies only to selected countries, but it can be expected that sooner or later it will reach us as well. After all, since November, Disney+ has been increasing its price from CZK 199 to CZK 249, and it probably won’t be the last.