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Netflix says subscriber numbers hit record high

The streaming television giant reported a quarterly profit of US$1.3 billion, in line with expectations.

AFP
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Netflix expects to begin rolling out its options for paid password sharing this quarter. Photo: Reuters
Netflix expects to begin rolling out its options for paid password sharing this quarter. Photo: Reuters

Netflix on Tuesday said that its number of subscribers hit a record high 232.5 million in the first quarter of the year and that its nascent ad-supported tier is faring well.

The streaming television giant reported a quarterly profit of US$1.3 billion (RM5.76 billion), in line with expectations, but said it had delayed a broad crackdown on sharing of account passwords "to improve the experience for members".

Netflix said it expects to begin rolling out its options for paid password sharing this quarter instead.

That means some membership and revenue benefits resulting from the move were postponed, Netflix said in a letter to shareholders.

"We believe this will result in a better outcome for both our members and our business," Netflix said.

And while a new ad-subsidised subscription tier at Netflix is in its early days, engagement is above initial expectations and Netflix has seen "very little switching from our standard and premium plans."

Market tracker Insider Intelligence forecast that Netflix will bring in US$770 million in ad revenue from the new tier this year, and that revenue figure will top US$1 billion next year.

As growth at Netflix cooled last year, the Silicon Valley based streaming company focused on creating a lower priced subscription tier with advertising.

Netflix also set out to nudge people watching for free with shared passwords to begin paying for the service without alienating subscribers.

For the first time ever, US adults will spend more time this year watching digital video on platforms such as Netflix, TikTok and YouTube than viewing traditional television, Insider Intelligence has forecast.

The market tracker expects "linear TV" to account for less than half of daily viewing for the first time ever, dropping to under three hours while average daily digital video watching climbs to 52.3% with three hours and 11 minutes.

"This milestone is driven by people spending more and more time watching video on their biggest and smallest screens, whether it's an immersive drama on a connected TV or a viral clip on a smartphone," Insider Intelligence principal analyst Paul Verna said in a release.

Netflix and YouTube are "neck and neck" leaders when it comes to digital video audience attention, according to Insider Intelligence.

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