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Netflix reports slowing subscriber growth; shares slide

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Netflix shares slid on Tuesday after the US streaming television titan reported that subscriber growth slowed in the recently ended quarter after booming in the early days of the pandemic.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Netflix shares slid on Tuesday after the US streaming television titan reported that subscriber growth slowed in the recently ended quarter after booming in the early days of the pandemic.

While Netflix added 28.1 million paying subscribers so far this year, only 2.2 million of them came in the third quarter, the company said in an earnings release letter.

"We think this is primarily due to our record first half results and the pull-forward effect," Netflix said in the letter.

The streaming television giant, now facing an array of competitors, reported it has slightly more than 195 million subscribers.

Growth was strongest in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the earnings figures.

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"We're pleased with the progress we're making in this region and, in particular, that we've achieved double digit penetration of broadband homes in both South Korea and Japan," Netflix said.

"While this is encouraging, we still have much work to do and we're working hard to replicate this success in India and other countries."

The streaming television service expected to add 6 million new subscribers during the current quarter, bringing the total number of members added for this year to a record-setting 34 million.

Netflix reported a net income of US$790 million on revenue of US$6.4 billion, handily topping the same period last year.

Netflix shares were down 4.8 per cent in after-market trades that following release of the earnings figures.

"Good and careful progress" is being made when it comes to producing original content deemed critical to winning and keeping subscribers, according to Netflix.

Production, derailed in the pandemic, is back on track for hit shows including Stranger Things and The Witcher, as well as on an action film starring Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson, and Ryan Reynolds, the company said.

Netflix expressed confidence it would complete shooting on over 150 productions by year-end, and that the number of Netflix originals launched in 2021 would top the number launched this year.

"Competition for consumers' time and engagement remains vibrant," Netflix said.

"Linear television and other big categories of entertainment, like video games and user generated content from YouTube and TikTok are all vying for consumers' attention and are strong drivers of screen time usage."

Apple, Comcast, Disney and others have also taken on Netflix with streaming television services of their own.

AFP

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