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Netflix Falls Short of Subscriber Goals, But Nears 222 Million Customers

Streaming giant added 8.3 million subscribers in the fourth quarter

Netflix on Thursday reported it has 221.84 million global paid subscribers as of the end of the fourth quarter of 2021.

That just missed the streaming giant’s goal of 222 million subs by the end of the year and sent its stock tumbling as much as 17% in after hours trading.

Netflix added 8.3 million subscribers during the quarter, which was slightly below their forecast of 8.5 million new memberships.

Revenue for the quarter was $7.7 billion in line with Wall Street expectations.

In its letter to shareholders, Netflix noted that most of its subscriber growth comes from outside the U.S. and Canada, which has hit a saturation point in recent years. In 2021, almost all of Netflix’s growth was from oversees. “Our service continues to grow globally, with more than 90% of our paid net adds in 2021 coming from outside the UCAN region,” Netflix said.

More specifically, Netflix is getting the most growth from the Asia-Pacific and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) regions, which accounted for more than 6 million new subscribers during the quarter.

Netflix is providing lower guidance for the first quarter of 2022, forecasting 2.5 million new subscribers compared to 4 million in the same timeframe last year.

“Our guidance reflects a more back-end weighted content slate in Q1’22 (for example, ‘Bridgerton’ S2 and our new original film ‘The Adam Project’ will both be launching in March),” Netflix said. “In addition, while retention and engagement remain healthy, acquisition growth has not yet re-accelerated to pre-Covid levels. We think this may be due to several factors including the ongoing Covid overhang and macro-economic hardship in several parts of the world like LATAM.”

During the fourth quarter, Netflix premiered its two most-watched movies ever in “Red Notice” and “Don’t Look Up,” as well new seasons of “The Witcher” and “Cobra Kai.”