Netflix says it remains optimistic about the long-term prospects for the streaming service after a fourth-quarter that added just 8.3 million new subscriptions, below the 8.5 million internal forecast.
The company now has 222 million paid subscribers and remains the leader in an increasingly competitive market. 18 million new subs were added across 2021 compared to 37 million in 2020 at the height of the pandemic.
“While this added competition may be affecting our marginal growth some, we continue to grow in every country and region in which these new streaming alternatives have launched,” the company said in a letter to shareholders.
Fourth-quarter revenues of $7,903 million were 16% ahead of 2020.
In forecasting subscriber growth of just 2.5 million for the first quarter of 2022, Netflix said new content, such as the second season of historical romp Bridgerton would appear towards the end of the period. It believes a number of factors are responsible for the reluctance of new subscribers to come forward, such as a Covid overhang and economic problems in regions such as Latin America.
In December, Netflix lowered its prices across all four plans, in line with India’s historically low pay-TV pricing. However, as reported in Broadband TV News this week, Netflix has begun a new round of price rises in the United States with increases of between $1 and $2.