Tuesday 20 April 2021 9:18 pm

Production delays weigh on Netflix as firm misses new subscriber forecasts

Netflix added fewer subscribers that than predicted in the first quarter as its pandemic momentum slowed up due to production difficulties.

The tech giant added 3.98m subscribers in the first three months of 2021, below the 6.3m forecast by Refinitiv analysts.

Read more: Netflix lookahead: What to expect from the streaming giant’s earnings

The misstep sent shares tumbling 10 per cent in post-market trading.

In a statement, it said: “We believe paid membership slowed due to the big Covid-19 pull forward in 2020 and a lighter content slate in the first half of this year, due to Covid-19 production delays.

“We continue to anticipate a strong second half with the return of new seasons of some of our biggest hits and an exciting film lineup.”

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A combination of the reopening of cinemas and live sports, as well as a less new content and competition from rivals such as Disney+, weighed on the firm.

However, the Silicon Valley streaming giant said that it expected membership growth to pick up the pace again in the second half of the year.

It has a strong slate of programmes due to drop in the latter six months, including hit shows like Sex Education and The Witcher.

In addition, the firm said it would spend $17bn on content this year.

Revenue rose to $7.16bn from $5.77bn during the quarter, edging past estimates of $7.13bn.

Read more: Next CEO Lord Simon Wolfson’s pay jumps 28 per cent despite profit plunge, shut stores and furloughed staff

Net income rose to $1.71bn , or $3.75 per share, from $709m, or $1.57 per share, a year earlier.

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