Netflix Lost 200,000 Subscribers in Q1 2022

Posted on April 19, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Netflix with 25 Comments

As part of its quarterly earnings report, Netflix revealed that it lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022.

Netflix now has 221.64 million global subscribers, and the firm earned a net income of $1.6 billion on revenues of $7.8 billion in the quarter. Revenues were up 9.8 percent, but the quarter was also the first in which growth fell below double digits.

“Our revenue growth has slowed considerably as our results and forecast below show,” a Netflix letter to shareholders begins. “Streaming is winning over linear, as we predicted, and Netflix titles are very popular globally. However, our relatively high household penetration—when including the large number of households sharing accounts—combined with competition, is creating revenue growth headwinds.”

According to Netflix, the service got an unexpected boost from the COVID-19 pandemic, which “obscured the picture until recently.” The firm says it will try to reaccelerate revenue growth through service improvements and more effective monetization of multi-household sharing, meaning that it will no longer let families share a single account for free.

Increased competition has taken a toll, too. While Netflix has the single best content library by far, YouTube, Amazon, and Hulu have maintained their market positions, and Disney has almost doubled its share—granted, to just 1.7 percent of total U.S.-based viewing time—in the past year.

“Key to our success has been our ability to create amazing entertainment from all around the world, present it in highly personalized ways, and win more viewing than our competitors,” the letter explains. “These are Netflix’s core strengths and competitive advantages. Together with our strong profitability, we believe we have the foundation from which we can both significantly improve, and better monetize, our service longer term.”

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Comments (25)

25 responses to “Netflix Lost 200,000 Subscribers in Q1 2022”

  1. dftf

    Not surprising -- there are simply too-many subscription-services in the market now. They might all only ask for around "£11.99 a month" (or whatever, in your local currency) but they soon all add-up!


    A Lloyds Bank survey in the UK did recently report 1.2 million subscription-services cancelled since summer of 2021, with music, TV and movie streaming-services overwhelmingly the main ones to be culled. Source: moneysavingexpert.com/news/2022/04/over-1-million-subscriptions-ended-by-customers-feeling-the-sque/

    • wright_is

      The thing with Amazon Prime Video is that many people already have Prime for other things and it costs around 6€ a month, paid annually. Many probably see it as a "freebie", as they aren't paying directly for Prime Video.


      Netflix is also very expensive, if you want "modern" video feeds. It might start off cheap, but if you have a 4K TV with HDR and a decent audio set-up, you quickly have to double that subscription price to get non-pixelate, non-blurry versions of the films and series you watch. In Prime, 4K is included as standard.


      Over here (Germany), Disney+ seems to be given away with many services. I have 3 months free D+ waiting for me on my new mobile contract - I just don't have the time at the moment to warrant starting the service.


      The same with Apple TV+, it was a year free with every device bought (now 3 months). If you bought new hardware regularly, you never paid for it. My free year runs out in a few months, although I did end up paying for Apple One for the family, for music, TV and storage. Just a shame that the newspaper and magazine service isn't included in Apple One over here, that would really make the service a no-brainer.

  2. qaelith2112

    Careful not to think of this in the same mistaken way others keep seeing it. Don't make the mistake of thinking that Netflix's subscriber loss -- to some extent driven by the price increases -- has hurt Netflix in any way. The simple math on the increased revenue from the price increases offset by the lost subscribers, even if you go with the expected additional 2 million to lose, still leaves them with a very large additional revenue. As a bonus, they incur lower costs while enjoying that revenue increase because it's 2.3 million fewer subscribers to consume bandwidth and burden the servers. No doubt they modeled this and estimated subscriber loss when deciding to jack up the prices so soon after the last increase. The unknown variable is the split between service levels which carry different price increases and different pricing levels, but assuming worst case, that 100% of lost subscribers are the most expensive tier and that revenue gains from price increases are all from the lowest tier ($1 increase), you still come out with a healthy gain in revenue. They have to drive away more than a couple million subscribers to make the price increase actually net negative.

    • qaelith2112

      Also, that's' why I'm really bewildered by this talk of "needing to consider advertising and really crack down on password sharing" supposedly because of the subscriber decline. Seems to me they've made more than enough from the price increases to not be in such a dire situation as to be needing to take these measures.

  3. nbplopes

    Increasing prices plus inflation.

  4. arjay

    At the time of one of the Netflix price increases, I realized we hadn’t watched anything on Netflix for probably half a year. So, Bye Bye Netflix!

  5. jgraebner

    It's interesting that HBO Max, Paramount+ and Peacock all are small enough to just be lumped under "Other".

  6. ebraiter

    How do you lose 200,000 subscribers but still end up with a bigger share - unless all the others also lost?

    • CasualAdventurer

      Exactly right, the loss of subscribers is from three primary sources: the price hike (it lost its value proposition for some), covid being over (people are getting back to work), and the weather getting warmer (more free time being spent outside). If Netflix didn't see this coming, they should have.


      One more thing: do you think the sheer quantity of streaming start-ups is having an impact on traditional streaming services? I rotate every few months between Hulu, Netflix, HBOmax, and Disney+. I'm wondering how common that might be.

    • wright_is

      Looking at the figures, it isn't the number of subscribers, it is the number of hours spent watching VOD. Even if you lose a small number (200,000 is a drop in the ocean, and that is world-wide, not US only), if those remaining subscribers are watching more hours on Netflix than other services, their share still grows.

  7. mattbg

    It feels a bit like Netflix is coming under the same pressure as Spotify, where new services with other sources of revenue are able to offer lower, loss-leading prices to get people into their ecosystems. It's what Netflix did to others in the beginning, where shareholders were looking for growth rather than profit.


    We know what will happen, of course - Disney+ and all of the others will get more expensive, too - but I guess the question is whether Netflix can survive until the inevitable normalization of streaming prices occurs.


    Netflix absolutely has to go after people freeloading on other peoples' accounts against the terms of their subscription. Hopefully they are developing a way to do this without blocking legitimate use. In the modern world, this is a machine learning problem, and Netflix has the talent to do it.


    At what NFLX stock price, I wonder, does Netflix become an attractive acquisition for its content library to get folded into some other service as a "channel"?

  8. hrlngrv

    Back to the office is a bitch, eh?

    • Donte

      This, Covid is over and people are getting out and doing things. I read something about YouTube creators are complaining about lower views.

      • dftf

        YouTube creators moan endlessly about "low views", "sub-counts not rising" or "people not subscribed". (They also all ask people to "like, comment and subscribe" as the YouTube AI apparently picks-up on those phrases in a video, and you get higher-ranking for encouraging user-engagement).


        Low-views they attribute to YouTube deliberately de-ranking them in the algorithm, and for sub-counts not rising, they claim YouTube removes some of their subscribers, often citing they are "bot sign-ups". Personally, I suspect it is more a case of simply "the creator is putting out boring content no-one gives a f**k about", hence why they're seeing a period of low-views and people not subscribing!


        The last issue though (people watching without being a channel subscriber) is hard to address as YouTube has a website, and doesn't require sign-in to watch videos (unless they are flagged as adult-content). So nothing is stopping people currently from just bookmarking their favourite channels and viewing them without a Google Account. The only way to force people to subscribe (or at-least use an account) would be for a creator to mark all their videos as "suitable for adults only", but such videos are not eligible for monetisation. So it's not really worth it.


        (I think the whole thing about how-many subscribers a channel has too is meaningless -- many of them will be from long-dead Google accounts from old devices, or where passwords have been forgot. I'd prefer to see YouTube change it to "active subscribers", and only count how-many people are regulars to a channel. I mean, right-now you can see some channels with something like 2 million subscribers, but on-average their videos get something like 50-100k views and around 300-500 comments. So clearly not all of those 2 million subs are active.)

  9. rm

    Too many subscription services now and Netflix has only made one original action movie that didn't look like a B movie (Tomorrow War). They just keep raising rates. If they block my son from using my account while at college, I will be dropping Netflix completely. I have already been debating whether it is worth keeping.

  10. hellcatm

    This was bound to happen because of the over-saturation of streaming services...and it's going to get worse. People started cutting the cord on cable so all of these services popped up and now either you have to go with all of the ones you watch shows on or you have to subscribe for a month, watch what you want and then unsubscribe to go to the next. In other worse either you get screwed or you have to jump through hoops not to. The cable companies could fix this by letting us pick the channels we want but they won't do that (unless they can't do this and survive because the stations charge?). It's always the consumers that get screwed because companies can't work with each other to keep prices at a decent rate.

  11. owenm

    I feel like most people are now only signing up to these services temporarily to watch the complete seasons of shows they're interested in, and then canceling when they finish

  12. huntwithmojo

    OR it could be the latest price increase. In my family, the last increase put Netflix on the chopping block. Cutting off family share would be the nail in the coffin. ⚰️ ⚰️ ⚰️

  13. erichk

    I don't know whether to keep cable, or drop it and subscribe to the 10 different things I need to subscribe to in order to see the shows I want to watch.

    • cnc123

      It takes a little work, but you don't have to subscribe to all ten at once. We made a list of shows and swap between services based on what we want to watch. We're usually subscribed to one service plus Amazon at a time. Works great.

  14. Brazbit

    Netflix probably has the weakest library at the moment. When I look for something to watch I have found that nearly every time I even bother to check Netflix they either do not have what I am in the mood for or have lost the rights to what I am looking for. Back when Netflix had Starz and there were not as many other services it was always a slam dunk that Netflix would have the best videos available. But that was a long time ago and I can go months without even opening the app these days. Only reason we keep it around is it would feel like loping off a limb at this point to not have Netflix, but if things don't improve, or if they load it down with commercials, that may change soon.


    Hulu doesn't have the selection but the live TV makes it a solid choice and it happens to have a lot of what I am looking for. Plus it is bundled with Disney+, ESPN and integrates HBO Max so it is a good hub to start looking for content from and has long replaced Netflix in this role for me. We pay a couple extra bucks a month to not have commercials.


    Disney+ Let's see... Disney, Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic and bundled with ESPN and Hulu. I wish this would live up to its potential and load up the entire libraries for these brands but it does a good job with room for improvement.


    Amazon Prime Video We would have Amazon Prime regardless so this is a solid keeper. Not the best selection of videos but still better than Netflix these days. Plus it links to our Movies Anywhere content so we have a selection of videos that are not on any service available to us through here. Add in the fact that they have been making some of the best exclusive content lately and this is a great addition to the list and it is included in a service we would have anyway to boot.


    HBOMax We currently have this for some key content, but it has been doing a great job of adding content that keeps us subscribed on a regular basis. Now that it is integrated into Hulu it is also easy to access from within another service taking away the need to remember to check yet another app to find content. So this is the dark horse that we keep around for the moment.


    YouTube is its own thing so I don't even include it in this conversation, although they are probably talking about YouTube Plus or Red or TV or whatever the subscription service calls itself this week.

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