Netflix Beats Forecasts in Q3, Adds 4.4 Million Paid Users, Ups Revenue by 16%

(Image credit: Netflix)

Sparked by a content slate improved over the second half of the year by the end of pandemic-related production stoppages, Netflix beat third quarter earnings forecasts, earning $7.5 billion in revenue, up 16% year over year, and growing its subscriber ranks by 4.4 million (up from 2.2 million in Q3 2020).

Wall Street prognosticators had predicted that the top global streaming service would report just $7.48 billion in quarterly revenue and paid subscriber adds of just 3.5 million.

With the customer additions, Netflix now has 214 million paid subscribers worldwide. 

In the U.S. and Canada, Netflix returned to growth, adding 70,000 paid users and finishing Q3 with 74.02 million customers. Notably, Netflix has grown its domestic subscriber ranks by less than 1 million over the last 12 months, perhaps indicating that the U.S. SVOD market has become saturated. 

For the second consecutive quarter, Netflix's Asia-Pacific operations drove global customer growth, accounting for half of the total (2.2 million).

Again, Netflix said that it was an improved content slate that drove the growth, with the debut of Season 5 of La Casa de Papel (aka Money Heist) and Season 3 of Sex Education watched by 69 million and 55 million member households, respectively, in their first 28 days on the platform to lead the way.

Netflix original series 'Money Heist'

Netflix original series 'La Casa de Papel' (aka 'Money Heist'). (Image credit: Netflix)

Filmed in Madrid, Spain, Money Heist represents an earlier phase of success for Netflix's local-language programming strategy, foreshadowing the outsized performance of late Q3 entry Squid Game

"La Casa de Papel was our first non-English language title to show that--with subtitling and dubbing--great stories truly can come from anywhere and be loved everywhere. We are now producing local TV and film in approximately 45 countries and have built deep relationships with creative communities around the world," Netflix said in a Tuesday afternoon letter to shareholders. 

Netflix said that it's moving away from releasing metrics in households viewed and toward total minutes viewed. 

Also in the shareholders letter, Netflix made the case that it has ample room to grow engagement, noting that it only accounts for 6% of total TV consumption in September, according to Nielsen, tied with YouTube. 

Notably, when Facebook experience broad-level technical issues on Oct. 4, Netflix said it saw its platform engagement shoot up by 14%.

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!