Streaming giant Netflix has blamed the “wobbly” growth of its subscribers on a lack of new content due to production stoppages induced by the coronavirus.
Now the streaming service is looking for new ways to get more viewers signed up, including preventing people from sharing passwords.
Netflix saw its subscription numbers skyrocket in 2020 as millions of people found themselves in pandemic lockdown.
Between January and March of this year, it added four million more subscribers. This is a huge drop from last year, when nearly 16 million people created Netflix accounts.
The drop in numbers is believed to have coincided with the end of major lockdowns – suddenly Netflix and chill was not the only option for a Saturday night.
The performance reported on Tuesday represented the smallest gain in subscribers during that three-month period in four years, and was about two million subscribers less than what management and analysts had predicted Netflix would add to the first quarter of 2021.
Netflix added a record 37 million subscribers last year, and the four million new customers added this year brought its total subscriber base to 208 million, a 14% increase year over year. ‘other.
The company expects the relatively slow growth in the number of subscribers to continue, forecasting an increase of just one million subscribers globally in the April-June quarter, compared to an increase of 10 million. ‘subscribers to the same period last year.
“It’s just a little wobbly at the moment,” Netflix co-chief executive Reed Hastings said on an earnings call on Tuesday.
In a letter to shareholders, Netflix attributed the slowdown in subscriber growth to the impact of the coronavirus on film and television production.
“We believe that the growth of paid members has slowed due to the big advantage of COVID-19 in 2020 and a lighter content list in the first half of this year, due to production delays of COVID-19”, the company said.
As competition in the streaming space intensifies, Netflix has pledged to spend more than $ 22 billion on fresh content this year.
“As we noted previously, COVID-19 production delays in 2020 will lead to a more heavily weighted 2021 slate in the second half of the year with a large number of returning franchises,” the company said.
In Australia, Netflix recently unveiled its upcoming “docu-soap” on social media influencers in the popular seaside town of Byron Bay.
But it hasn’t been easy, with locals protesting the reality TV series, which is titled Byron Baes.
The crackdown on Netflix password sharing
Netflix is also moving forward with plans to crack down on password sharing.
One metric under test is a pop-up window that appears when someone tries to sign in to another person’s Netflix account.
“If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to continue watching,” the post read.
The firm aims to ensure that “the people who use a Netflix account are the ones who are authorized to do so,” said chief executive Greg Peters.
However, Mr Hastings took a softer stance, saying that while the company “would test a lot of things” it “would never deploy something that feels like it’s turning the screws.”
“It has to make sense for consumers, that they understand,” he said.