Netflix reports increase in user numbers, calls “Squid Game” its most popular show of all time

Netflix Inc.

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added 4.4 million subscriptions in the third quarter, more than the company had expected, as viewers flocked to the streaming platform with the return of popular series and new hits such as “Squid Game” .

The new additions bring Netflix’s total worldwide paid subscribers to 213.6 million. The company had forecast that it would add 3.5 million memberships over the three-month period.

Typically, the summer months tend to be slower when it comes to subscriber additions. In the third quarter of last year, Netflix added 2.2 million subscribers, narrowly missing expectations. Around this time, the company said the big subscriber gains it saw during the Covid-19 lockdown were starting to fade.

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In recent weeks, Netflix has benefited from the success of “Squid Game,” the South Korean dystopian drama that debuted on September 17 and quickly became a global phenomenon. The series has gone viral with social platforms like TikTok showing videos of people reproducing children’s games, as online retailers rush to sell “Squid Game” Halloween costumes.

In its letter to investors, Netflix said “Squid Game” has become its most popular show of all time, with 142 million households sampling the title. It is the No. 1 program in 94 countries, he said.

Noting that “Squid Game” creator Hwang Dong-hyuk had been trying for several years to get the series to run before Netflix caught it, Co-Managing Director and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said, “Our team recognized something that no one else did and created an environment for this creator to put on a great show.

Movies that have worked well include “Sweet Girl” with Jason Momoa and “The Kissing Booth 3,” the company said.

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Netflix is ​​also forecasting a strong fourth quarter in terms of content with the return of the dark drama “You” and “Cobra Kai”, the popular series which is sort of a sequel to the “Karate Kid” film franchise. Major films Netflix will be releasing in the next few months include “Red Notice” starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot and Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence film “Don’t Look Up”.

“We have so much content coming in Q4 that we’ve never had,” said Netflix president and co-CEO Reed Hastings, who wore a “Squid Game” warm-up jacket during the company video call to discuss its results.

The Asia-Pacific region was among the strongest in the company in terms of new members, responsible for half of the additions in the quarter, adding 2.2 million subscribers to the total tally.

In the US and Canada, Netflix finished the third quarter with 74.02 million subscribers, an improvement of 73,000 from the end of the second quarter. Competition in the United States in particular has grown rapidly in recent years as rivals including Walt Disney Co.

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from Disney +, AT&T Inc.

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HBOMax and Amazon.com Inc.

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Prime Video continues to make inroads.

Netflix has also said it will change the way it discloses audience information. It is currently reporting the number of accounts that watched at least two minutes of a show. In the future, it will instead pivot on the hours seen for its titles.

Earlier this year, Netflix announced it would make its own video games, as part of an effort to expand into new sources of revenue. The company said the games will be designed for mobile devices, and some of them may feature characters from Netflix shows and movies. Games will be included at no additional cost to Netflix members.

“We have started testing our game offering in some countries,” Netflix said in its letter to shareholders. “This initiative is still in its early stages and like other content categories we have grown into, we plan to try different types of games, learn from our members and improve our library. games. “

In the third quarter, Netflix acquired video game company Night School Studio, whose products include “Oxenfree.” Netflix said the purchase would help it boost its development capabilities.

Netflix is ​​forecasting a strong fourth quarter in terms of content with the return of the dark drama “You”.


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Netflix

Earlier this month, Netflix also partnered with Walmart Inc.

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to create a digital storefront on the retailer’s website that will sell merchandise related to blockbuster shows such as “Stranger Things” and “Squid Game”. The deal with Walmart creates a dedicated area of ​​Walmart.com for Netflix merchandise, the Netflix, marking the first such online storefront that Netflix has created with a national retailer.

Netflix has also expanded its exclusive content with the purchase of the Road Dahl catalog, adding popular titles such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Matilda” to its stable.

As Netflix capitalizes on the popularity of its programming, one of its new original content has created headaches internally.

One of his biggest hits, Dave Chappelle’s new stand-up special “The Closer” has become controversial due to remarks the comedian has made that some employees have called offensive to the transgender community. Groups including LGBTQ rights group GLAAD have spoken out against the show and the National Black Justice Coalition has called on Netflix to remove the special from its platform.

A group of transgender employees is urging all Netflix employees to hold a walkout to protest the show special – and Netflix’s defense of the show – on Wednesday.

Mr Sarandos sent two emails to staff members defending the special and its popularity while saying that a service that tries to respond to everyone will sometimes have content that some find offensive.

The backlash on “The Closer” showed cracks in Netflix’s culture. While Netflix encourages franchising among staff, the company advises against speaking with the media or posting opinions about its content or operations on social media platforms. Last week, Netflix fired an employee who allegedly disclosed confidential financial information about programming costs to Bloomberg News.

Netflix said its revenues rose 16% to $ 7.48 billion, in line with Wall Street expectations.

Profit for the Los Gatos, Calif., Based company reached $ 1.45 billion, or $ 3.19 per share, from $ 790 million, or $ 1.74 per share, in the same period there is one year old. Its net income exceeded analysts’ earnings estimates by $ 2.57 per share, according to FactSet.

Netflix often says that other entertainment companies are not its only competition. He also fights for viewers with social media and video games. As an example, Netflix said engagement increased by 14% when Facebook Inc.

experienced a worldwide blackout of several hours on October 4.

Write to Joe Flint at [email protected] and Kimberly Chin at [email protected]

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Javier E. Swan

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