Netflix Users Going, Going...
They warned Q2 subscriber losses would be bad. But available data shows it may be far worse
In my huge report card on the streaming wars last week, one number stood out:
Netflix’s churn in America doubled to 4 percent.
But when you’re Netflix, being best in class may not be good enough. When Netflix’s stock price eclipsed $700 dollars last November, propping up a crazy $300 billion market capitalization, it did so by not just leading its peers, but dominating them. It’s churn rate wasn’t tied with anyone — it was half that of its nearest peer. Remember when people predicted that Netflix wouldn’t just take over TV, it would be TV?
Now, having slid down NASDAQ mountain (73 percent off from its high as of today), Netflix is still in pole position but facing the existential crisis of becoming “just another streamer.” If that happens, the company likely won’t ever see such a lofty valuation again. This especially applies if Netflix starts losing subscribers.
So that’s the question: Will Netflix report another down quarter of subscriber growth when it reports on July 19th?
Netflix set a low bar for itself, forecasting a loss of 2 million global subscribers in Q2 of 2022 in its Q1 earnings call. That was one of the numbers that sent its stock tumbling (dragging entertainment stocks down with it). But at the time, I was still skeptical it would actually lose that many global subscribers, since its Q2 content slate looked so strong, from Ozark to Umbrella Academy to Stranger Things Season 4. It sounded a little bit like managing expectations so they could beat them (earning back Wall Street’s applause).
Perusing the data though, I’m worried Netflix could lose 2 million subscribers just in the domestic market of the U.S. and Canada alone.
So in this column I will dig deeper into subscriber growth, and the two numbers — churn and new customer sign-ups — that drive it.
I’ll also provide my tentative forecast on what happens to Netflix for its subscriber numbers in Q2 of 2022. I don’t usually make quarterly forecasts, but I’m making a rare exception because of the strength of data.