Netflix Just Passed 260 Million Subscribers

Netflix added 13.12 million subs over the final three months of 2023 — its best Q4 growth ever. The streaming leader now has 260.28 million global paid subscribers.

Wall Street’s consensus was that Netflix would add 8.8 million subscribers from October-December — a number it easily blew away, which sent the stock (NFLX) soaring in after-hours trading. That said, Tuesday’s earnings report was not a perfect one; while Netflix surpassed revenue estimates, it missed the mark on profit forecasts.

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The streamer’s password-sharing crackdown, officially dubbed “paid sharing,” drove much of the quarter’s revenue growth. Price increases chipped in a bit, as did ads, though that final category’s growth lags paid sharing.

As previously reported, Netflix reached 23 million MAUs (monthly active users, not subscribers) on its ad-supported tier at the end of December. That likely translates to about 12-15 million actual subs on the plan, the analysts at investment bank Evercore ISI estimated in a Friday note to clients (obtained by IndieWire).

It’s a start, Netflix said. The streamer expects “strong growth” from advertising in 2024, but notes that it will still be “off a small base.” Next year is when the real progress should come.

“Our aim is to make ads a more substantial revenue stream that contributes to sustained, healthy revenue growth in 2025 and beyond,” the company’s shareholder letter continues.

As we learned earlier on Tuesday, part of the plan to accelerate the advertising business will involve the WWE. Netflix is taking the rights to “Monday Night Raw” in the U.S. in 2025, and will have even more key WWE programming abroad. As we learned on Monday, none of Netflix’s future plans now include Scott Stuber. Yes, it’s been a busy week — and we haven’t even brought up the streamer’s buzzy Sundance activity or the fact that it (again) led streamers in Oscar nominations with 18 nods.

Also in its shareholder letter, Netflix predicted further media consolidation for 2024, but pointed out “we’re not interested in acquiring linear assets.” And why would they be?

“Beckham,” “Obliterated,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “My Life with the Walter Boys,” and “Squid Game: The Challenge” were some of the standout series in Q4. “Leave the World Behind” and Adam Sandler’s “Leo” were among the top films. Also of note, Netflix Games released three “Grand Theft Auto” installments on mobile on December 14.

None of those will be able to compare with this final bit of news: “Squid Game 2” is coming in ’24, Netflix said on Tuesday. (Just as IndieWire predicted.) On Netflix’s Q4 earnings call, co-CEO Ted Sarandos said the company is “kicking around” a sequel to “Leo.”

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