Netflix beats expectations for new subscribers, misses on guidance

Netflix (NFLX) reported its Q2 2021 earnings after the closing bell on Tuesday, beating analysts’ expectations for new subscribers in the quarter but missing the target for estimates for Q3 2021.

Here are the most important numbers from the report compared with what analysts were expecting from the streaming giant.

  • Revenue: $7.34 billion versus $7.32 billion expected

  • Earnings per share: $2.97 versus $3.14 expected

  • Subscribers added: 1.54 million versus 1.12 million expected

The company’s stock was flat following the announcement.

While Netflix gained more subscribers than expected in Q2, it fell short of those the company is predicting for Q3. According to Netflix earnings report, it should see 3.5 million new users in the quarter, falling short of analysts’ expectations of 5.86 million new users.

Netflix was one of the main pandemic era trades with the company seeing an explosion in user growth in 2020, as consumers around the world stayed indoors to stanch the spread of the coronavirus. But that led to a massive pull forward in new subscribers, leaving Netflix to deal with difficult comparisons for 2021, and throwing expectations out of whack.

Analysts have instead been looking toward the company’s upcoming quarters, which are expected to once again help fuel growth thanks to the return of a number of major shows.

“We think the content slate improves in [Q3] (‘Fear Street,’ ‘La Casa De Papel,’ several returning popular romcoms and unscripted series) and more so in [Q4] (‘Cobra Kai,’ ‘The Witcher,’ ‘La Casa De Papel,’ several high profile films) and into 2022 (‘Stranger Things,’ ‘Ozark’ ‘The Crown,’ ‘Bridgerton,’ others),” Truist Securities’ Matthew Thornton wrote in a note ahead of the earnings announcement.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

While the subscriber forecast for Q3 may have missed expectations, Netflix said that if it meets the forecast it will hit its rate of pre-COVID net additions.

“If we achieve our forecast, we will have added more than 54 million paid net adds over the past 24 months or 27 million on an annualized basis over that time period, which is consistent with our pre-COVID annual rate of net additions,” the company said via the earnings release.

Netflix is also branching out beyond its traditional streaming video offerings, looking to merchandise its top shows similar to Disney. Look no further than the company’s new Netflix.shop for proof of the burgeoning effort.

Then there are the reports that Netflix is jumping into the gaming category with the hire of EA and Oculus veteran Mike Verdu who is set to lead the company’s gaming effort. It’s clear Netflix is looking to grow its offerings, but that will take some time, and is unlikely to make a difference in the near-term.

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