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Netflix says password-sharing crackdowns caused more signups than cancellations

Netflix says password-sharing crackdowns caused more signups than cancellations


Netflix shared new data about its password-sharing changes in its latest earnings report.

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Netflix says its password-sharing crackdown is working. In its second quarter earnings report posted on Wednesday, the streamer says it saw the addition of 5.9 million subscribers globally, with the US and Canada making up 1.17 million new members from April to June.

Now, Netflix will start to address password sharing in all its remaining countries. The company’s password-sharing policy only went into effect in the US in late May after the streamer started alerting users of the extra $7.99 per month charge. Data from the analytics company Antenna suggests that the company saw a dramatic spike in subscribers in the days following the crackdown. In addition to the US, Netflix also rolled out paid sharing in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain.

Netflix says revenue is now “higher” in each of its regions, adding that signups are already outnumbering cancellations. The release noted Netflix is “seeing healthy conversion of borrower households into full paying Netflix memberships” as well as more users adding extra members to their accounts.

During an earnings call, Netflix chief financial officer Spencer Neumann said most of the company’s revenue growth this year is going to come from those new paid memberships, “largely driven” by the company’s password-sharing rollout. That’s a sign execs don’t expect to raise prices across the board again in 2023 or see a significant impact on the bottom line from other projects like advertising or gaming.

While Netflix raked in $8.2 billion in revenue during the quarter, it now expects to have at least $5 billion in free cash flow for 2023 instead of its previous estimate of $3.5 billion. The company says the extra $1.5 billion reflects “lower cash content spend in 2023 than we originally anticipated” due to the Hollywood writers and actors strike. The strike will likely make it harder for Netflix to push out new content. Shows like Stranger Things, Big Mouth, Emily in Paris, The Sandman, and more have halted production amid the strike.

Netflix’s $6.99 per month ad-supported tier may have also contributed to the streamer’s 3 percent year-over-year increase in revenue. While the tier had a bit of a slow start, it grew to 5 million users globally in May as Netflix added support for 1080p video and the ability to watch two streams at once. As Netflix continues to double down on advertising, it pulled access to the cheapest ad-free plan in the US, UK, and Canada, a move Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters said will “optimize” the service’s plan structure.

Disclosure: The Verge recently produced a series with Netflix.

Update July 19th, 6:28PM ET: Updated to add information from Netflix’s earning call.