Netflix subscriber forecast falls short of expectations

The ups and downs of the pandemic have made the company’s trajectory less predictable. When Netflix posted its best subscriber growth ever in 2020, it was easy to credit the billions of people stuck at home. But that pulled from future growth and led to a slow start to 2021.

The just-ended quarter featured the biggest slate in Netflix history. The company released more big titles in the final months of 2021 than in any previous quarter. They included new seasons of the popular series “You” and “Money Heist,” the new shows “Maid” and “My Name,” and the movies “Red Notice” and “Don’t Look Up.”

Europe and Asia were the company’s most important markets in 2021. The company added 7.14 million customers in Asia Pacific and 7.34 million in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Asia will only get more important. The company has already signed up more than half of the broadband homes in the U.S. and is reaching saturation in major European markets.

Netflix shares fell as much as 13% to $444.15 in after-hours trading. Through Wednesday’s close, the stock had 26% from its Nov. 17 closing high.

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—Bloomberg News