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Netflix Stocks Plummet as the Streaming Giant Ends Subscriber Disclosures

An out of focus TV displaying the Netflix logo
Source: Canva

After reporting an impressive first quarter of 2024, Netflix announced it would stop reporting quarterly subscriber figures.

Starting next year, Netflix will stop reporting how its subscriber bases have grown (or shrunk) for each quarter (via Variety). This news comes after the streaming giant’s stock dropped by 9.1 percent on Friday after investors began to worry about the lack of visibility into the slow growth in the streamer’s customer numbers. Subscriber numbers have become crucial for many entertainment studios, with the numbers serving as a key factor that a streaming service is performing well and continues to grow.

Netflix reached 260.28 million subscribers last year but only netted 9.33 million new paid subscribers during the first quarter of 2024. The number surpasses the Wall Street forecast, indicating that Netflix is in good health. So, why make this change?

Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters attributed the decision to withhold subscriber metrics to the data being “increasingly less accurate in capturing the state of the business.”

“We’ve evolved, and we’re going to continue to evolve, developing our revenue model and adding things like advertising and our ‘extra member’ feature, things that aren’t directly connected to number of members,” Peters said during an earnings call. “We’ve also evolved our pricing and plans with multiple tiers, different price points across different countries… So, this change is really motivated by wanting to focus on what we see are the key metrics that we think matter most to the business.”

Jeff Wlodarczak, CEO and internet, media, and communications analyst at Pivotal Research Group, noted ‘the lone disappointment’ in Netflix’s first-quarter earnings, which caused the stock to drop. Announcing the discontinuation of disclosing subscriber and average revenue per membership figures “raises concerns about the outlook for subscriber growth in ’25 and beyond.”


Apple made a similar move in 2018 by no longer disclosing unit sales of iPhones and other products. “A unit of sale is less relevant to us today than it was in the past,” Apple’s CFO told investors then. Now, Netflix is echoing Apple’s 2018 move, explaining that it believes subscriber growth is not as meaningful as user engagement or financial metrics like revenue and operating margin.

Today, Apple is starting to see a steep dip in sales this year, with sales down in the first quarter. When Apple made the announcement about its revised reporting, the stock dove after the tech company released the number of iPhones sold in the September 2018 quarter. Apple adapted its revised reporting, causing the stock to increase four times its 2018 standing and making the company one of the most valued in the world.

Netflix is hoping that something similar will happen to them. Macquarie senior media tech analyst Tim Nollen wrote on Friday that Netflix investors “will complain about lack of metrics to use, but we welcome the decision—recall Apple did this with iPhone units to focus the Street toward more important fundamental metrics.” Investors might get back on board if Netflix produces meaningful metrics related to engagement or ad tier information.

While Netflix’s 2025 subscriber growth could be slow as the paid-sharing initiative starts to roll out, Wlodarczak says “we still see a long runway for subscriber/ARPU growth going forward.”


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