The number of Netflix subscribers grew globally by over 4 million to 213.56 million in the third quarter, above its own projections, although a slower rate of growth than in previous years. Netflix expects to add another 8.50 million in the fourth quarter, taking it to over 222 million subscribers, or members as it prefers to refer to them. Two thirds of member households watched the South Korean drama Squid Game in its first month on Netflix. The company is planning to extend its video experiences into games.
In the United States and Canada, Netflix added just 70,000 subscribers in the third quarter, taking its total to just over 74 million.
The greatest growth was in the Asia Pacific region, adding over 2 million subscribers to pass 30 million.
Latin America added a third of a million new Netflix subscribers, taking it to a total of approaching 40 million.
In Europe, Netflix gained 1.80 million, taking it to over 70 million subscribers, which is approaching the number in North America.
Reed Hastings, the co-founder and co-chief executive of Netflix, pointed out that its subscriber numbers were “pretty small compared to pay TV households” worldwide and so that leaves plenty of room for growth.
Squid Game was watched by 142 million member households worldwide in its first four weeks. It ranked as the number one programme on Netflix in 94 countries, including the United States. Those numbers are based on the number of accounts that watch a title for at least two minutes.
Netflix plans to report on hours viewed, which it recognises “is a slightly better indicator of the overall success of our titles and member satisfaction”. The company says “it also matches how outside services measure TV viewing and gives proper credit to re-watching”. Netflix plans to release these metrics more regularly.
As previously reported by informitv, the first season of Bridgerton was watched by 82 million accounts but viewed for 625 million hours, or an average of over 7.6 hours per account across its total run time of the 8 episodes with an average duration of an hour.
Netflix points out that there is still room for growth. Even in the United States, its largest and market, it accounts for less than 10% of television screen time, based on Nielsen numbers, with broadcast, cable and satellite television accounting for 64%.
Gregory Peters, the chief operating officer, notes that the vast majority of members engage with Netflix on a mobile screen, which is one of the reasons that the company is branching into games. Netflix has acquired Night School Studio, creator of the critically acclaimed graphic adventure game, Oxenfree.
“We’re excited about the idea that by taking away what we see as distractions from the core enjoyment experience associated with other models like advertisements or in-app monetization, per-title costs that we can really give our members a much easier, direct enjoyment experience with games, just like we have with TV shows and movies,” he said.
“We’re creating all these amazing universes and worlds and characters and storylines, and we can attach to the passion and fandom that our members have on viewing those on the video side with game experiences and allow them to go deeper and explore spaces that they wouldn’t have otherwise seen on the video side.”
“We really think there’s a good connection and synergy there. And over time, we’ll try and bring those closer together and sort of let those two worlds more influence each other and have a more direct connection.”