Netflix’s announcement in April that it had lost subscribers in the first quarter, its first such loss in many years, was the biggest streaming-related news of 2022 yet Quarter could also report losses, although this did not happen.
“Our revenue growth has slowed significantly, as reflected in our results and guidance below. As we predicted, streaming is going to take off in a linear fashion, and Netflix titles are hugely popular around the world. However, our relatively high household penetration — when you factor in the large number of households sharing accounts — combined with competition, creates headwinds for revenue growth,” Netflix said in this April investor letter.
Netflix continued to blame various factors for its subscribers’ woes — including increased password sharing, intensifying competition, and its pull out of Russia. The company has since embarked on some cost-cutting measures, including a round of layoffs earlier this week. And the company has also announced plans to offer an ad-supported tier.
Who exactly canceled their Netflix subscriptions? A surprising number of subscribers have been with Netflix for quite some time, according to a new study. The study comes from research company Antenna and was reported by The Information and 9to5Mac.
“New data shows that people who have subscribed to Netflix for more than three years had a significantly larger proportion of cancellations in the first quarter than two years earlier,” the information said, citing Antenna data. “The data helps shed light on why Netflix subscriber growth suddenly stalled in the first quarter.”
“Meanwhile, new subscribers accounted for only 60% of cancellations in the quarter, compared to 64% in the fourth quarter,” the report reads. “Also in the first quarter, total terminations increased to 3.6 million people, compared to approximately 2.5 million in each of the previous five quarters. Antenna says it gets its data from a panel of 5 million Americans who anonymously contribute their streaming subscriptions.”
However, Antenna noted that while Netflix was losing subscribers, the overall audience for subscription streaming continues to grow. “Consumers vote monthly with their wallets, and now there are just more viable candidates on the ballot,” Brendan Brady, director of media and entertainment at Antenna, told the information.
A separate antenna report this month examines where some of those churned Netflix subscribers have gone. “Disney+ and Apple TV accounted for a relatively large percentage of Netflix churned subscriber signups in Q1 22 compared to their market share of all Q1 22 new signups (corresponding to 23% of Netflix churned subscriber signups -ups vs 11% for the overall market),” Antenna said.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist, and film critic who also writes for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage Magazine, Broad Street, Review, and splice today. Stephen, co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver