Netflix says it will stop telling the world how many subscribers it has


Netflix will stop telling the world how many subscribers it has, amid struggles to grow them.

The company said that it would be more useful to focus on how much money it was making, rather than how many people were joining its service. But analysts said the decision could cause controversy, especially amid recent updates.

Netflix has recently attempted to crack down on the sharing of accounts, for instance. That was intended to make more people sign up – including by offering special additions to accounts that allow people to share them within the rules – but could also force people to stop using those accounts.

The company’s shares fell in the wake of the announcement, which also came as it released new results showing that its revenue forecasts were below expectations.

The video streaming pioneer’s revenue target for the current quarter missed analysts’ average estimate of $9.54 billion. It said on Thursday that from the 2025 first quarter, it would no longer report subscriber numbers each quarter.

Analysts said the company’s move to stop revealing subscriber figures might be contentious.

Evercore ISI’s Mark Mahaney, who said the announcement was not “terribly surprising”, said it was a “chump” decision nonetheless.

“The key debate coming out of this earnings report will likely be the removal of two pieces of disclosure,” Goldman Sachs said. It added that the sustainability of tailwinds from paid sharing initiatives would continue to be a focus for investors going forward, with the removal of these disclosures potentially adding to the debate.

Netflix executives have urged investors to focus on revenue and operating margins when assessing the company’s progress, rather than customer additions.

Shares of the company fell about 5% after hours on Thursday on the streaming platform’s 2024 revenue outlook, which also fell short of analysts’ expectations.

But analysts are still bullish on the company’s growth trajectory, with at least four brokerages raising their price targets on the stock so far.

“Netflix is benefiting from its cheaper ad-supported tier, which is helping to capture customers that would otherwise stay away from the platform because of financial concerns,” said Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Netflix said its ad-supported streaming plans helped attract 9.3 million new customers in the first quarter, nearly double the consensus forecast of analysts polled by LSEG, bringing the global tally to 269.6 million at the end of March.

“The bigger question now will be how Netflix continues to keep churn to a minimum, when rivals catch up with their own cheaper plans,” Lund-Yates said.

Additional reporting by agencies