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Hey, Netflix Is Back to Subscriber Growth

Streamer adds 2.41 million global paid subs and blows away earnings expectations in the third quarter of 2022.

Cobra Kai. Yuji Okumoto as Chozen Toguchi in episode 510 of Cobra Kai. Cr. Curtis Bonds Baker/Netflix © 2022

Yuji Okumoto as Chozen Toguchi in episode 510 of “Cobra Kai”

CURTIS BONDS BAKER/COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Netflix added 2.41 million global subscribers in the third quarter of 2022, bringing its grand total to 223.09 million (73.39 million from the U.S. and Canada), a gain of +4.5 percent over the prior year’s comparable quarter. Q3 was the first quarter of 2022 when Netflix didn’t lose subs. According to Tuesday’s shareholder letter, executives at Netflix believe they’ll add 4.50 million subs globally in the final quarter of 2022.

The streamer added 4.38 million subs in the year-ago quarter, which at the time represented 9.4 percent growth. So we’re not there — but we are well above the company’s tempered expectations; at the end of Q2, Netflix forecasted that it would add 1 million global subscribers in Q3. Clearly, it bested that — the same goes for its financial forecasts.

Netflix earned $3.10 per share in the third quarter on $7.926 billion in revenue; its net income was $1.398 billion. Wall Street forecasted earnings of $2.13 per share on $7.84 billion in revenue. Back on July 19, Netflix itself estimated Q3 earnings per share of $2.14 (total profit: $961 million) on $7.838 in revenue.

The July-September quarter’s revenue rose 5.9 percent from the same three-month period last year. The third quarter of 2022 saw the rollout of the final “Stranger Things 4” episodes, which cemented the fourth season of the Duffer Bros. drama series as the most-watched English-language TV show in Netflix’s recorded history. It also witnessed the debut of Netflix’s No. 2 English-language series of all time, “Dahmer.” There was also “Cobra Kai” Season 5, “The Sandman,” and Korean hit “Extraordinary Attorney Woo.”

“After a challenging first half, we believe we’re on a path to reaccelerate growth,” Netflix’s Q3 shareholder letter reads. “The key is pleasing members. It’s why we’ve always focused on winning the competition for viewing every day. When our series and movies excite our members, they tell their friends, and then more people watch, join and stay with us.”

Now Netflix is excited about its ad-supported tier, dubbed “Basic with Ads,” which launches in the U.S. on November 3.

“While we’re very optimistic about our new advertising business, we don’t expect a material contribution in Q4’22 as we’re launching our Basic with Ads plan intra-quarter and anticipate growing our membership in that plan gradually over time,” the letter cautions.

Shareholders seem into the extra revenue stream, as well as the potential for Netflix’s password-sharing crackdown. (Members are probably less thrilled about the latter.)

Netflix executives will participate in a third-quarter Q&A set to stream on YouTube at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.

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