Netflix to add mobile video games as subscriber growth slows

July 20 (Reuters) – Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) mentioned it might make a deeper dive into video video games because the film and TV streaming service projected weak subscriber development amid rising competitors and the lifting of pandemic restrictions that had saved individuals at house.

The corporate’s shares hovered about even at $531.10 in after-hours buying and selling on Tuesday.

Netflix is weathering a pointy slowdown in new prospects after a growth in 2020 fueled by stay-at-home orders to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. In the USA and Canada, Netflix reported shedding about 430,000 subscribers within the second quarter, solely its third quarterly decline in 10 years.

The streaming video pioneer mentioned it was within the early phases of increasing its online game choices, which might be accessible to subscribers at no additional cost. The corporate will initially focus totally on cellular video games.

“We view gaming as one other new content material class for us, just like our growth into authentic movies, animation and unscripted TV,” the corporate mentioned in its quarterly letter to shareholders.

The multi-year effort will begin “comparatively small” with video games tied to Netflix hits, Chief Working Officer and Chief Product Officer Greg Peters mentioned in a post-earnings video interview.

“We all know that followers of these tales wish to go deeper. They wish to interact additional,” Peters mentioned.

Netflix has dabbled in video video games with just a few titles linked to collection together with “Stranger Issues” and “The Darkish Crystal: Age of Resistance.”

Some analysts have mentioned the corporate that dominates streaming video wants to seek out new methods to jump-start subscriptions after years of fast growth. In line with eMarketer, Netflix’s share of U.S. income from subscription streaming video will shrink to 30.8% by the top of 2021, from almost 50% in 2018.

“Netflix delivered one other underwhelming quarter as competitors within the streaming area heats up,” mentioned senior analyst Jesse Cohen. “The absence of any new looming development catalysts has been one of many primary causes for Netflix’s comparatively delicate efficiency this 12 months.”

Small toy figures are seen in entrance of diplayed Netflix brand on this illustration taken March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photograph

Co-CEO Reed Hastings mentioned gaming and different ventures reminiscent of podcasts and merchandise gross sales can be “supporting components” to assist appeal to and retain prospects to its core enterprise of streaming video.

The corporate projected it might add 3.5 million prospects from July by way of September. Wall Road had anticipated a forecast of 5.5 million, in accordance with analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

For the just-ended quarter, Netflix added 1.54 million prospects, beating analyst projections of 1.04 million. Whole subscribers numbered 209 million on the finish of June.

A 12 months in the past, Netflix picked up 10.1 million subscribers within the second quarter.

This 12 months, Netflix felt the impression of COVID-19 on TV manufacturing, which left the corporate with a small menu of recent titles. On the similar time, Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) Disney+, AT&T Inc’s (T.N) HBO Max and different providers attracted prospects, and summer time blockbusters returned to film theaters. learn extra

The easing of pandemic security measures additionally lured individuals out of their houses and away from their televisions.

Earnings for April by way of June got here in at $2.97 per share, beneath the common forecast of $3.16.

Netflix guarantees a heavier lineup within the second half of 2021, together with new seasons of “You,” “Cash Heist” and “The Witcher.”

If its subscriber forecast pans out, Netflix may have added greater than 54 million subscribers over the previous two years, a tempo per its annual additions earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic, the corporate mentioned.

It additionally famous that streaming tv nonetheless accounts for a small portion of general viewing time and that its service is much less mature exterior the USA.

“It is nonetheless an infinite prize and we’re nonetheless in the perfect place to run after it,” Co-CEO Ted Sarandos mentioned.

Reporting by Eva Mathews and Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Enhancing by Shounak Dasgupta and Lisa Shumaker

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