I'm pleased to present the 294th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Netflix reported its Q3 2015 earnings this week with overall subscriber growth pretty much in line with the company’s forecast. However, net U.S subscriber additions came in at 880K, which was 270K short of the 1.15 million forecast for Q3 this past July in the company’s Q2 earnings report.
It was the weakest Q3 U.S. subscriber growth since 2011, and continued a downward trend over the past 3 years (1.29 million in Q3 ’13, 980K in Q3 ’14). Netflix said gross subscriber additions in the U.S. were actually up year-over-year in Q3 ’15, and that the shortfall was due to “involuntary churn” caused by credit card companies issuing new chip-enabled cards with new account numbers which in turn caused a disruption in recurring billing.
While we have no reason to doubt the veracity of Netflix’s explanation, many analysts, including Colin and me, find it very murky. Credit card companies have pushed back on the rationale, and other recurring merchants have said they haven’t seen any similar problems. We share our concerns and raise the possibility that Netflix may be reaching the saturation point in the U.S. with slower growth ahead (Q4 results will go a long way to addressing this).
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