Netflix added 4.38 million paid subscribers in the third quarter of 2021, thanks in large part to a stronger slate of programming, to finish the three-month period ending September 30 with 213.56 million total subscribers. Analysts were expecting closer to 3.72 million new subs.
Revenue for the period was $7.48 billion, an increase of 16 percent over the $6.44 billion generated in the year-ago quarter. Operating income, meanwhile, rose 33 percent, from $1.32 billion to $1.76 billion. Earnings per share checked in at $3.19, compared to Wall Street’s expectations of $2.56, and $1.74 during the same quarter a year earlier.
Netflix blamed its lighter-than-normal content slate in the first two quarters on Covid-related production delays in 2020.
The pendulum swung in September, however, with the release of Squid Game. The South Korean survival drama has captivated audiences worldwide, with 142 million member households having watched the show in its first four weeks. It was ranked #1 in a whopping 94 countries including the US.
The streaming giant said demand for consumer products based on the show is high, adding that such goods are on their way to retail now.
Looking ahead to the fourth quarter, Netflix said it expects to add another 8.5 million subscribers and deliver its strongest Q4 content offering yet. The backloaded content release schedule will come at a cost, however, as operating income is expected to take a hit accordingly.
Netflix shares are down 1.85 percent as of writing, likely due to the expenses expected in Q4.