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Netflix's Q3 Results: The Audience Demand Driving The Metrics

Key Findings:

  • While the main metric of paid net adds may have fallen short, in many ways this has been a solid quarter for Netflix, particularly in terms of retention. The effects of the ongoing extraordinary operating conditions caused by the global pandemic are likely still benefitting the streamer.
  • Several demand metrics relevant to subscriber retention, such as the demand decay rate, are trending upward. This shows that Netflix is improving on measures that keep subscribers coming back for more. Netflix itself noted that “retention remains healthy” in its shareholder letter.
  • As we have previously revealed, the demand for the most popular original series on a platform (tentpole series) is a powerful driver of new subscribers: Demand for tentpole series in one quarter drives subscriber growth in the next. Our latest Q3 Netflix analysis shows that demand for Netflix’s tentpole originals fell in the second quarter which anticipated the Q3 miss in forecast subscriber adds (chart 1). The subscribers miss was driven by weak subscriber acquisitions due to reduced demand for tentpole originals.

Chart 1

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