Netflix has reported its third consecutive quarter of accelerating subscriber growth, capping off a successful year for the company. The streaming giant has managed to attract more subscribers even as it raised prices and cracked down on viewers who were freeloading on the service. The company's fourth-quarter results exceeded analyst projections, with 13.1 million new subscribers added during the October-December period.
Netflix has been able to justify its higher subscription prices by offering popular TV shows and movies, such as the Emmy-winning comedy "Beef" and the Oscar-nominated film "Maestro." The company has also announced a $10 billion deal to bring the wrestling program "Raw" to its service, which is expected to attract more viewers and potentially more advertisers.
The company's strategy of introducing a low-priced plan with commercials and blocking viewers who were accessing the service for free has paid off. Netflix's revenue for the quarter climbed 13% from the prior year to $8.83 billion, exceeding analysts' forecasts. However, earnings per share missed targets due to a charge tied to foreign debt.
Netflix's success has been reflected in its stock price, which rose 65% last year while shares of other media giants struggled. The company's shares rose more than 8% in after-hours trading following the release of its fourth-quarter numbers.
Looking ahead, Netflix faces the challenge of sustaining its momentum. The company is eyeing live programming as a potential area for growth, with the "Raw" deal signaling a move in that direction. Netflix is also exploring opportunities in advertising and video games, with hopes of convincing more viewers to subscribe and engage with its platform.
Despite the optimism, Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters cautioned that it will take several years before ad sales bring in significant revenue. The company remains confident that it can continue to grow by convincing viewers using the passwords of paying customers to sign up for their own plans.
Overall, Netflix's strong performance in 2023 demonstrates its ability to adapt to changing market conditions and attract new subscribers. The company's focus on high-quality content and expanding into new areas like live programming and video games positions it well for future growth.