Netflix Gets a Flood of New Subscribers After U.S. Password Crackdown

Netflix had a nice few days leading up to Memorial Day Weekend 2023.

According to new research from Antenna, from May 24-27, Netflix enjoyed its four largest days of U.S. signups in the four-and-a-half years it’s measured the streamer. Netflix saw nearly 100,000 sign-ups on both the 26th and the 27th.

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Why those days? On May 23, Netflix began to inform subscribers in America it was cracking down on password sharing. Clearly, the binging public met that call to action with a whole lot of action. In other words (speaking of “action”), it probably wasn’t all for new Arnold Schwarzenegger series “FUBAR,” which Netflix released on May 25 and is still going strong on its weekly Top 10.

Over the full four-day period highlighted in Antenna’s findings, Netflix signed up an average of 73,000 subscribers, a 102-percent improvement over the prior 60-day average, according to data from what Antenna calls its Acquisition Drivers product. (Learn more here and/or peep the data in a nicely packaged chart.)

That daily average is even better than the spikes the streamer saw over the initial COVID-19 lockdown in March and April 2020. While cancels also increased from May 24-27, Netflix’s sign-ups-to-cancels ratio increased 25.6 percent compared to the previous 60-day period.

May ended nicely for Netflix, a trend that appears to be carrying over to June. On Wednesday, a pair of Wall Street analysts increased their price targets for Netflix stock (NFLX); Wells Fargo’s jumped all the way from $400 to $500. The bank’s substantial increase, as well as J.P. Morgan’s (PT: $380 to $470), tied to the potential of Netflix’s paid-sharing program and advertising plan.

One Wall Street analyst who asked to remain anonymous told IndieWire Friday that while the analyst community (outside of hedge funds) did not have early access to the Antenna findings, they had heard Netflix’s sign-up numbers following the U.S. paid-sharing rollout “were looking great” based on credit-card data.

Those Wednesday notes to investors primed the pump; this morning, almost certainly due to the Antenna’s data, NFLX shares reached a new 52-week high of $424.65. That’s not $700, NFLX’s (very brief, it closed November 17, 2021 at $691.69) all-time high, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the company’s current 52-week low of $164.28.

When reached for comment on the Antenna data, a Netflix spokesperson told IndieWire: “We generally don’t provide comment on third-party research.”

Fubar. (L to R) Fabiana Udenio as Tally Brunner, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Luke Brunner in episode 108 of Fubar. Cr. Christos Kalohoridis/Netflix © 2023
Fubar. (L to R) Fabiana Udenio as Tally Brunner, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Luke Brunner in episode 108 of Fubar.CHRISTOS KALOHORIDIS/NETFLIX

These days, to share an existing Netflix account with a member outside of your household, the paying subscriber must pony up an additional $7.99 per borrower, per month. At present, users can only “share” an ad-free account. Netflix’s “Standard” ($15.49/month) plan allows sharing with just one individual outside of the household; “Premium” ($19.99/month) accounts can add up to two borrowers.

Alternatively, a borrower is also able (some might say, encouraged) to transfer their existing profile over to a new (paid) account; Netflix plans start at $6.99 (with ads), which is $1 less per month than the paid-sharing charge. Who could have possibly seen a number of folks choosing that option?

Over the first three months of 2023, Netflix added 1.75 million global paid subscribers, bringing its grand total up to 232.5 million. Netflix no longer offers forecasts for quarterly subscriber growth, electing instead to focus on revenue as its primary financial metric. If your company made $8 billion in revenue per quarter, you probably would, too.

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