Netflix adds 4.4m new subscribers as Squid Game reels in viewers

20 Oct 2021

Image: © Rokas/Stock.adobe.com

New subscriber growth last quarter was driven by the APAC and EMEA regions, while revenue increased by 16pc compared to last year.

Riding on the massive popularity of Squid Game, Netflix has shown strong performance in Q3 2021 with 4.4m new subscribers after a slowdown earlier in the year.

Netflix’s content slump because of pandemic-related production delays is over, according to the streaming giant’s letter to shareholders, where it boasted a 16pc year-on-year increase in revenue to $7.5bn, with operating income rising by a third compared to Q3 last year.

Future Human

Paid membership numbers now stand at 214m globally, keeping its position as the world’s most popular streaming service despite increasingly stiff competition from players such as Amazon’s Prime Video, Disney+, and Apple TV+.

The 4.4m new subscribers in this quarter is double the 2.2m subscriber addition in Q3 of 2020 and ahead of the company’s quarterly forecast of 3.5m.

Netflix said that half of the total new additions came from the Asia-Pacific region, which has led subscriber growth for the second consecutive quarter. The EMEA region followed with 1.8m new subscribers.

For Q4, Netflix forecasts 8.5m net new subscribers, a spike likely to be driven by a surge in demand for streaming content during the  holiday season and a “stronger slate” of content in the second half of the year.

Netflix ended last year by surpassing 200m users and coming close to balancing out its large investment in original content.

International content focus

Netflix’s performance until the end of the year will no doubt be boosted by the record-breaking performance of Korean drama Squid Game, which was released last month and has become its biggest show ever.

With 142m households across the world watching the title within the first four weeks of its release, Squid Game has overtaken other massively popular Netflix shows such as period drama Bridgerton, French thriller Lupin, and Spanish crime drama La Casa de Papel, or Money Heist.

Along with Sex Education, Money Heist was one of Netflix’s most popular returning shows in Q3. These shows were watched in the first four weeks by 55m and 69m households, respectively.

Because of the popularity of shows such as Squid Game, Money Heist, Lupin and The Crown, Netflix said it will focus on more international content to increase its subscriber base. It has already started wooing new users in Africa with a free plan launched in Kenya last month.

“We are now producing local TV and film in approximately 45 countries and have built deep relationships with creative communities around the world,” Netflix wrote in its letter to shareholders. “The goal of our local content executives is always to create locally authentic stories that will resonate in their country.”

Squid Game has been ranked as Netflix’s number-one programme in 94 countries including the US, and has been the subject of much discussion in pop culture, including endless memes and a Saturday Night Live sketch.

Netflix estimates that Squid Game will add around $900m in value to the company, according to figures seen by Bloomberg.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com