Netflix loses 130,000 US subscribers

In the second quarter of 2019, Netflix hemorrhaged 126,000 US subscribers, the first significant loss of customers since 2011 when the company broke up its business model into a two-pronged offering split between streaming and mail-out hard media. The company had also predicted that it would secure a further 5 million global subscribers during the same quarter, but actually only mustered 2.7 million.

CEO Reed Hastings cited the recent lack of new original content availability on the platform, as well as subscription price increases from January of this year jumping up from $10.99 to $12.99 for the US losses. Netflix does, however, believe that it will add a further 7 million subscribers globally in the third quarter due an anticipated cheaper mobile platform offered for India.

Netflix’s share price dived 10% on Wednesday as a result of the grim figures, and some believe that new streaming platforms on the horizon from Disney, Apple, NBC Universal and WarnerMedia will eat even further into its market share when they get here later this year and out into 2020. Others suggest that the ever-looming threat of advertising being introduced onto the website (even though Netflix denies this would ever transpire), and the predicted loss of popular shows like The Office in years to come, could also not only be the cause of the recent drop-off, but add to future woes for the company.

Netflix says it expects domestic business to pick up again this year, particularly with strong viewer numbers for recent shows such as the third season of Stranger Things and Our Planet.

Do any of our members think this drop in subscribers will become a pattern, or represents just a blip? Has anyone here dropped Netflix in the past few months? Please add comments below…

 

 

 

Published by

Martin Dew

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46 Comments

  1. Netflix would probably be the first I'd cut. So many of the "buzzy" shows and movies they offer exclusively I find to be just ok, but not necessarily worth spending the extra money on. Amazon Prime I'd keep because I use the shipping service often and they've upped their game on catalog movies and TV to stream. Plus, with Disney, NBCUniversal, etc. adding services I WILL be forced to choose based on content I like.

  2. A negligible drop in the bucket.

    “a decline in U.S. subscribers that surprised many Wall Street analysts and sent Netflix shares falling 12% — comes after Netflix attracted nearly 10 million subscribers during the first three months of the year, more than any other quarter since the debut of its video streaming service 12 years ago.

    Netflix ended June with 151.6 million worldwide subscribers, far more than a current crop of video streaming rivals that includes as Amazon and Hulu.”

    I think they’ll be fine. 😉

  3. And by the way it’s 126,000 not 130,000. Might as well be accurate.

    Much ado about nothing. Clickbait news. Words like “hemorrhaging” and “dire”. C’mon.

    So they gain 10 million and “lose” 126,000.

    Sheesh. Dire indeed. :laugh:

  4. Tino

    And by the way it’s 126,000 not 130,000. Might as well be accurate.

    Much ado about nothing. Clickbait news. Words like “hemorrhaging” and “dire”. C’mon.

    So they gain 10 million and “lose” 126,000.

    Sheesh. Dire indeed. :laugh:

    First of all, the article from Variety I posted in the other thread DOES give the 130k number, so it is not inaccurate for Martin to have posted that number.

    Second, while this is certainly not the end of the world, laughing it off as "much ado about nothing" and "clickbait news" is not accurate either. It is perfectly reasonable and sane to be wary of news that causes a company's stock to fall 12% in minutes

  5. Cranston37

    First of all, the article from Variety I posted in the other thread DOES give the 130k number, so it is not inaccurate for Martin to have posted that.

    Martins own blog above states 126,000.

  6. Tino

    Martins own blog above states 126,000.

    Ok, let me ask you this Tino – if some media outlets give the 126k number, and some give the 130k number, then how are you arriving at the 130k being the inaccurate one?

  7. Cranston37

    Ok, let me ask you this Tino – if we've established that some media outlets give the 126k number, and some give the 130k number, then how are you arriving at the 130k being the inaccurate one?

    Seriously I really don’t care

    I just stayed my opinion that’s all.

    No big deal. Cheers. 🙂

  8. To piggyback off this Netflix news…

    We had been having a debate lately about the idea of rotating subscriptions. I argued that it's more common than you think with the amount of services available, while others thought nobody would bother to go through the hassle of doing it.

    I will point out this quote from this morning:

    Tim Nollen of Macquarie Research pointed out that “The magnitude of the miss this time appears more concerning in light of coming OTT competition from Disney, HBO/Warner, NBCU and Apple,” he wrote in a note to clients.

    "With losing licensed programming, we do expect consumers to jump on and off these services more frequently, which may lead to more sub volatility over time, which raises the stakes on producing and timing
    popular shows and marketing them effectively.”

  9. I think Netflix’s bigger issues are Net Neutrality threats and, yes, rotating subscriptions. Many Netflix subscribers have learned to activate their subscriptions only when relevant content is available. Netflix may not publish this sort of data but I’m sure they’re aware of it and someone in a boardroom or corner office is pondering just how to stop it.

  10. I read a NY Times article about this today and the article stated that Netflix was prepared for this kind of drop given the delay in Stranger Things returning, and expects the next quarter to pick up now that the show has new episodes.

  11. Josh Steinberg

    I read a NY Times article about this today and the article stated that Netflix was prepared for this kind of drop given the delay in Stranger Things returning, and expects the next quarter to pick up now that the show has new episodes.

    Just to play devil's advocate, the numbers they missed were Netflix's own guess for this quarter, so I read it the opposite – that they might be explaining what caused it but it wasn't necessarily what they thought was going to happen.

  12. Hollywood Reporter:

    "Netflix shed $17 billion in value on Thursday as Wall Street punished the leader in streaming media for announcing a day prior that it added only 2.7 million subscribers in the most recent quarter, far shy of the 5 million it had previously forecast.

    The weak subscriber additions are concerning, considering they came prior to competition from Disney, Warner Media, NBCU, and Apple streaming services."

  13. Netflix is the last streaming service I'd cut at present. I watch it the most, and watch it almost exclusively for their original content: Bojack Horseman, Maniac, Stranger Things, Altered Carbon, GLOW.

    The only reason it might be the second to last to be cut is that I have Amazon Prime which gives me a free streaming service for paying for two-day shipping.

  14. We dumped Netflix when it raised prices. We only watched it a couple of times a month, if that. We also dumped DirecTV Now for the same reasons.

    Our #1 streaming service is Hulu. That and Amazon Prime is all we are paying for anymore. Traditional network television gets recorded over the air (with FAR better image quality than streaming or cable) and it’s FREE!

    Mark

  15. Mark Booth

    We dumped Netflix when it raised prices. We only watched it a couple of times a month, if that. We also dumped DirecTV Now for the same reasons.

    Our #1 streaming service is Hulu. That and Amazon Prime is all we are paying for anymore. Traditional network television gets recorded over the air (with FAR better image quality than streaming or cable) and it's FREE!

    Mark

    Any interest in Criterion Channel?

  16. Cranston37

    Any interest in Criterion Channel?

    Not really. In addition to Hulu, Prime and network TV, we have over 1,400 films on HD DVD Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray. That's about 2,800 hours worth of entertainment. If we watched one film a day every day of the week it would take nearly 4 years to watch them all.

    Mark

  17. mark1220

    I'm kinda sick of all the "Netflix" produced stuff. Some are OK, but they shove it down your throat more and more.

    I dumped Netflix. I agree that their original programming isn't all that great. It's become a streaming service for docs about serial murderers.

  18. Netflix is by far the best streaming service imo. Nothing comes close.

    Terrific original series, films and favorites. 4K. Dolby Atmos. HDR. Dolby Vision. I would dump everything before I ever dump Netflix.

    For $.53 cents a day for the best plan, it’s the best bargain out there imo. 🙂

  19. Tino

    Netflix is by far the best streaming service imo. Nothing comes close.

    Terrific original series, films and favorites. 4K. Dolby Atmos. HDR. Dolby Vision. I would dump everything before I ever dump Netflix.

    For $.53 cents a day for the best plan, it’s the best bargain out there imo. 🙂

    .53 cents a day works out to 16 cents a month.

  20. RobertR

    .53 cents a day works out to 16 cents a month.

    If Netflix cost that much, I would be a subscriber, too. 😉

    I consider Amazon Prime a much better deal for us. It's just $10 per month (substantially less than Netflix), and comes with benefits other than just streaming – – free shipping, free music streaming, free Kindle books, etc.

  21. I have Netflix only for the Marvel shows and the CW shows of last season. Once I see the last of Jessica Jones I am cutting Netflix. To me streaming is horrible. Only through comcast I am seeing netflix

  22. If Netflix hadn't raised its subscription price I would still be a subscriber. In an era of increasing streaming choices for consumers, prices should be going DOWN, not up.

    My opinion is that Netflix saw the writing on the wall (declining subscription base) and felt it HAD to raise prices to make up for the lost revenue. BAD call.

    There's a toll road near us that originally didn't save us any money to use it. It's the highway we prefer to take to our favorite (chain) theater because it saves us time. But if we don't take it, the cost of the additional gas to go the non toll route was LESS than the actual toll. We saved a little bit of money by NOT taking the toll road.

    The toll road was originally owned and operated by a private company. When it first opened my wife and I got a FasTrak transponder to use on the road. The road was lightly traveled and I knew the company that built it wasn't going to make it. 3 years later and, sure enough, we get a notice that the company is RAISING the toll fees and, worse, would now charge a minimum of $6 per month if you didn't run up at least $6 in tolls each month. In other words, if we didn't drive the toll road for a month it would cost us $6 to NOT use it.

    Horse manure!

    I took our transponder down to their office and turned it in. I told them we wouldn't use the toll road again until AFTER they went bankrupt. I told them they should be LOWERING the price to encourage MORE use of the road. And that the minimum charge was utter BS.

    I didn't have to wait long. The company went bankrupt about 2 years later and the road was taken over by the county. The county lowered the toll fee (below even what the private company originally charged), which was a smart move. Unfortunately, the county still maintained a minimum, lowering it to $5/month.

    We still refused to use the road (because of the minimum fee) and I wrote county government to tell them why. I never received a response to my letter.

    Fast forward another year or so and a friend mentioned that his FasTrak transponder was from the San Francisco Bay area. He said it was one of the few agencies left that didn't charge a monthly minimum. I called them up and, sure enough, no minimum. I signed up for a Bay area FasTrak transponder and we've been happily using it ever since. We benefit from the lower toll fee the county implemented and we don't get charged a dime if we don't use the road for a month or more.

    But here's the thing… since the fee reduction and getting the Bay area transponder, we use the toll road more than ever. We've used the toll road 5 times in the last two weeks, in fact. And with the reduced fee we ARE saving a little bit of money vs the cost of additional gas to go the non toll route.

    And everyone else is seeing the value too. The toll road is far busier than when the private company was operating it. Easily 10 times the traffic if not more. Yet, it's still not congested (no slowing or stopping, even at the busiest times) so it can handle even more traffic.

    Netflix is being run with the same mentality as that private toll road company. The outcome will be the same, eventually.

    Mark

  23. When the studios pull their content, Netflix will fundamentally change. It will cease being a 1 stop everything-feels-like-it's-on-it place to a channel that only shows their own material.

    Before they were partners with the studios. Now they will be direct competitors. Their business is changing.

  24. 1) I think all of this obsession on growth is unhealthy. It's obviously not a new trend, and it happens whenever a company is publicly owned and traded, but it's not realistic for a company to perpetually grow. Eventually, you've satisfied the marketplace. It's simply not reasonable to expect Netflix to always be adding huge batches of new subscribers all the time and for those subscribers to remain active 100% of the time. It skews the discussion in a way that makes it seem that any business being reported is in trouble.

    2) No other subscription streaming service has had as good of a track record at creating and capturing cultural zeitgeist moments like Netflix. Whether it was House Of Cars in the beginning or Stranger Things now, they have demonstrated time and again that they can create content that makes the entertainment world stop and take notice. I don't anticipate that changing.

    3) When Netflix loses access to third party content like Disney material and reruns of network sitcoms, they're not going to wither and die. They're spending a fortune on that content, which in many cases is already widely available in multiple places. I think Netflix has been overpaying for this content. Sure, people enjoy watching repeats of "The Office" or "Friends" but those shows regularly air on syndication in broadcast and cable markets, and are available inexpensively on physical media. It's a nice touch that Netflix has them. But despite the outcry when rumors of those shows disappearing crop up, I don't think they're driving subscriptions. But they are adding costs. When Netflix loses that content, they'll also be relieved of paying hundreds of millions of dollars for it.

  25. Josh Steinberg

    I think all of this obsession on growth is unhealthy. It's obviously not a new trend, and it happens whenever a company is publicly owned and traded, but it's not realistic for a company to perpetually grow. Eventually, you've satisfied the marketplace. It's simply not reasonable to expect Netflix to always be adding huge batches of new subscribers all the time and for those subscribers to remain active 100% of the time. It skews the discussion in a way that makes it seem that any business being reported is in trouble.

    Well stated. Netflix seems to have panicked when they saw the eventual demise of physical media rentals through their original service [although I still occasionally visit a Redbox kiosk] and completely over-reacted on the streaming side. Trying to be everything to everyone is ultimately a losing strategy. For the time being, I'm still a Netflix subscriber although I have changed my plan a couple of times to combat [actually protest] their recent price increases. As for strategically cancelling and renewing Netflix, personally, I don't have time to manage the tedium of that but I certainly understand and agree with it conceptually.

    On the other hand, one of the [years past] shows I want to see in its entirety is Arli$$. The "Best of" release was not so great so I want the complete series. As old as this series is, HBO owns it and I am actually considering a subscription to HBO NOW for that very reason. Currently, they offer a "Cancel Anytime" policy too.

    Netflix isn't wrong about original content being the harbinger of the future for the industry. As far as I can see their problem is more in the content itself. If you pay a once great comedian millions for "new" material, does that really compare to a classic show from days past, or even that particular comedians best work? In almost all cases I would say "no," especially when you can't even broadcast the classic material from the same person on your network. You're paying for the new material. In this sense, Netflix may have it backwards. When upcoming comedians/artists used to appear on music or TV shows they would always want to promote their NEW material while the host and audience wanted to hear the old stuff. Now Netflix is promoting the artists new material for them, even though it's unproven.

  26. John Dirk

    Netflix seems to have panicked when they saw the eventual demise of physical media rentals through their original service [although I still occasionally visit a Redbox kiosk] and completely over-reacted on the streaming side. Trying to be everything to everyone is ultimately a losing strategy.

    I agree that long term that's a losing strategy, but I'm thinking that Netflix was kinda genius for doing it at the start.

    Before Netflix got into streaming, as far as the general public/average consumer was concerned, it was either something they didn't know about at all, or was perceived to be some kind of complicated thing that was good for computer keeps but less useful to everyone else. Because Netflix had so much success building the "by mail" rental business, they had a lot of good will with their consumer base, and were in a great position to be perceived as a trustworthy source to follow into something new or different. And that they could basically say, "Look, we're happy to send you the next disc of '24' to watch, but we found an even faster way to get you that thing you like without you having to wait for something to come in the mail."

    I don't know that anyone else was in that kind of position where they could get a general audience to try out a new technology and buy in the way that Netflix customers did. So ultimately, I give Netflix a lot of the credit for making streaming viable and attractive to ordinary customers.

  27. Josh Steinberg

    3) When Netflix loses access to third party content like Disney material and reruns of network sitcoms, they're not going to wither and die. They're spending a fortune on that content, which in many cases is already widely available in multiple places. I think Netflix has been overpaying for this content. Sure, people enjoy watching repeats of "The Office" or "Friends" but those shows regularly air on syndication in broadcast and cable markets, and are available inexpensively on physical media. It's a nice touch that Netflix has them. But despite the outcry when rumors of those shows disappearing crop up, I don't think they're driving subscriptions. But they are adding costs. When Netflix loses that content, they'll also be relieved of paying hundreds of millions of dollars for it.

    With this pending "savings" from not having to pay for Disney material and reruns of network sitcoms, etc., Netflix should be LOWERING its prices, not raising them.

    Mark

  28. Agree to disagree – I don't really have a dog in this fight as I'm not a viewer of any current Netflix programming. My wife is, so we have it in our house, which at least allows me to be up to date in what they offer.

    And when I look at what they offer, it's premium quality material on par with what HBO offers. HBO Now charges $15 a month for a subscription which includes far less than what Netflix offers, and which maxes out at HD quality (no 4K support from HBO). HBO costs even more if you purchase it directly from your cable provider rather than from HBO directly.

    As long as the market can support $15 a month for HBO Now in HD, I think Netflix in HD at $12.99 will do just fine. They may shed some subscribers along the way, but 130k subscribers cancelling seems statistically insignificant to me considering that the subscriber base is well over 100 million. In other words, they're probably going to be a stronger company for letting those 130k subscribers go, rather than changing their entire business model at a financial loss to appease such a tiny portion of their audience.

  29. Netflix is still the best deal in town (not for everyone, obviously, but generally).

    12.99 a month (or 15.99 to have up to 4 screens showing at the same time + UltraHD) is, as Josh says, entirely in line with the premium cost of HBO. While I don't watch everything that interests me on Netflix, it has an enormous wealth of great content – When They See Us, Altered Carbon, Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, Bojack Horseman, After Life, Love, Death + Robots, Russian Doll, Patriot Act, The Haunting of Hill House, Maniac, Dark, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, House of Cards, Arrested Development, Longmire, The Fall, Black Mirror – and those are just the ones that I can think of right now that are in My List. That's a crazy amount of great content.

    I subscribe to HBO as well, my wife watches Bill Maher every week (I've sworn off political shows of late because I just can't stomach it), and she enjoys Insecure as well, and I was watching Game of Thrones and Westworld (and a little Barry), but I can't really name too much else that is must-see for me right now. Now, I haven't explored newer HBO shows because I don't have the time, so there is likely much more that would capture my interest, but it's still worth having that subscription in my house. Netflix blows it out of the water in our house.

    Everyone's interests are different, but the original programming on Netflix is where my eyeballs have been drawn of late and it's the main reason I get excited about the service. Can't see that changing anytime soon as long as they keep a check on future price increases, but even at the highest cost right now, it's still a great deal for us.

    It helps that I am only now getting through Stranger Things' third season and am loving every minute of it, too 🙂

  30. Comparing Netflix and HBO pricing is quite interesting and valid. I think both are overpriced, and is one of the main reasons why I don't subscribe to either service. With Di$ney coming in with a price about half that of Netflix and HBO – – plus Amazon giving its subscribers a lot more services than just streaming for less money – – I think their high pricing is eventually going to catch up with both Netflix and HBO.

  31. That's going to be an interesting question to follow – I don't think anyone can truly say what will happen.

    But if the past is any indication (and these days, it might not be), there has always been room in the marketplace for more general use services that cost a little less, and for more niche services which cost a little more. HBO has been expensive since forever, and they're still thriving. So I think there could be room for Netflix to survive as a premium streaming service that offers high quality product at a premium price.

    That Netflix has rushed to cut prices says to me that they're not terribly worried about this drop. Again, 130,000 subscribers out of over 100,000,000 is statistically irrelevant. (And some reports have the total number of subscribers much higher than that). More importantly, it's better for them to have slightly fewer subscribers but to have the remaining subscribers all be loyal followers, than it is for them to have every possible customer out there but to have to cut prices and quality to keep all of them. If you're Netflix, you can't care about 130,000 people leaving if those people are all there for licensed stuff like Friends and The Office that aren't part of your business plan long term, and you don't want to overpay for those assets to retain those customers. You're better off with loyal customers like Neil, who see enough value in what Netflix offers and have enough interest in seeing each new Netflix original thing to keep the subscription going year round. Customers like Neil don't need to be wined and dined, don't need to be advertised to, don't need expensive maintenance efforts to keep.

    That's why I think the whole idea that the stock market has decided that Netflix is magically worth billions less than it was five seconds ago because some people canceled is ridiculous. The people who are buying and selling the stock in response to those drops aren't understanding the business and are punishing Netflix for metrics that don't really matter. Having a large number of loyal customers is more important than having all of the customers.

  32. Josh Steinberg

    That's why I think the whole idea that the stock market has decided that Netflix is magically worth billions less than it was five seconds ago because some people canceled is ridiculous. The people who are buying and selling the stock in response to those drops aren't understanding the business and are punishing Netflix for metrics that don't really matter. Having a large number of loyal customers is more important than having all of the customers.

    From what I understand, Netflix's stock value didn't drop because they lost 130,000 subscribers, but because they did not come close to reaching their own projected growth goals last quarter. That will always cause a stock to drop.

  33. Scott Merryfield

    From what I understand, Netflix's stock value didn't drop because they lost 130,000 subscribers, but because they did not come close to reaching their own projected growth goals last quarter. That will always cause a stock to drop.

    I would also argue, in response to Josh's post, that the stock dropped not because of where the market sees Netflix's business today, but because of where it sees it being 2-3 years from now.

  34. Scott Merryfield

    From what I understand, Netflix's stock value didn't drop because they lost 130,000 subscribers, but because they did not come close to reaching their own projected growth goals last quarter. That will always cause a stock to drop.

    That's a good point.

    It's probably a different discussion, but what does that say about the state of the industry that they have over 100 million subscribers and both they and their shareholders still feel a need to project and see growth in order for them to consider the company a success? Everyone may be setting the bar unrealistically high.

  35. Josh Steinberg

    That's a good point.

    It's probably a different discussion, but what does that say about the state of the industry that they have over 100 million subscribers and both they and their shareholders still feel a need to project and see growth in order for them to consider the company a success? Everyone may be setting the bar unrealistically high.

    Yes, but they're also spending $15 billion on programming.

  36. And how many of those 100 million are active subscribers?

    According to many posters here, they activate for a month, then drop for several months, then re-activate when a show they like comes out (and none of the other half-dozen services are still active).

    Is 100 million an accurate number or just marketing hype?

  37. My parents didn’t care for the content options and dropped it.

    They added some other services on prime as well.

    I think the Disney streaming app will impact Netflix as well.

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