Netflix Falls Short of Its Domestic Subscriber Forecast



From left, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Ray Romano in ‘The Irishman.’ Mr. Pacino earned an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for his role in the Netflix release. Photo: Netflix/Associated Press

Netflix Inc. missed its forecast for subscriber growth in the U.S., a performance that comes as the streaming giant faces heightened competition from a gaggle of rivals.

Netflix said Tuesday that it added 423,000 domestic subscribers in the fourth quarter, compared with the third quarter. In October, the company based in Los Gatos, Calif., had forecast an increase of 600,000 subscribers in the U.S. for the latest period.

But the company also reported an increase of 8.3 million subscribers in markets overseas, more than the seven million the company was expecting.

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Shares in Netflix were down in after-hours trading Tuesday.

Netflix’s weaker-than-expected domestic growth comes as it faces rising pressure from rivals that have launched competing services and are chasing creative talent in Hollywood.

In November, Walt Disney Co. ’s Disney+ streaming platform went live with a $6.99 monthly subscription rate. Apple Inc. launched Apple TV+ the same month, offering consumers access for $4.99 a month. Netflix’s standard plan costs $12.99 a month.

This spring, Comcast Corp. ’s NBCUniversal and AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia plan to introduce their direct-to-consumer streaming services: Peacock and HBO Max, respectively.

Netflix reported a fourth-quarter profit of $586.9 million, or $1.30 a share. Revenue rose 31% to $5.47 billion. New content the company premiered during the quarter included “The Irishman,” a film about organized crime, and “Marriage Story,” a movie about the demise of a marriage. Each film received multiple Oscar nominations.

The streaming wars might mean you have way more options when it comes to platforms and content for entertainment. But ultimately, paying for all those options is going to look a lot like the high prices you used to pay for your old-school cable package. Photo: Alexandra Cardinale

Write to Micah Maidenberg at [email protected] and Joe Flint at [email protected]

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