Netflix just added 9.33 million subscribers to its platform, showing a huge growth in users that seems bolstered by its password-sharing crackdown efforts. But despite this, the streamer announced that it will no longer share its quarterly subscriber numbers beginning in 2025. This, of course, marks a huge sea-change in the streaming world. Since the inception of the industry, which was greatly led by Netflix, streamers have used subscriber numbers as benchmarks for success. Of course, while this announcement looks weird juxtaposed to a huge subscriber increase for Netflix, it actually makes a lot of sense looking at the landscape of the streaming world. Subscriber growth is just no longer a tenable variable to increase continuously. But what will replace it? Most likely, the revenue-generator for generations in television: ads.

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Netflix shared that it was ceasing its shares of subscriber numbers in the company’s earnings report:

As we’ve noted in previous letters, we’re focused on revenue and operating margin as our primary financial metrics — and engagement (i.e. time spent) as our best proxy for customer satisfaction. In our early days, when we had little revenue or profit, membership growth was a strong indicator of our future potential. But now we’re generating very substantial profit and free cash flow (FCF),” the earnings release reads. 

We are also developing new revenue streams like advertising and our extra member feature, so memberships are just one component of our growth. In addition, as we’ve evolved our pricing and plans from a single to multiple tiers with different price points depending on the country, each incremental paid membership has a very different business impact.

Netflix will, however, occasionally share subscriber numbers, noting, “We’ll also announce major subscriber milestones as we cross them.”


Ultimately, Netflix’s decision to stop sharing subscriber numbers likely boils down to this. At the beginning of the streaming project, it was very easy to see gains in subscribers. Now, subscriptions are basically tapped out. If you’re going to have a Netflix account, you already have it, save for slow trickles. As its no longer a sustainable growth method, Netflix, and likely other companies, will turn away from subscriber numbers to other profit drivers. Sadly, for the user, this means we’ll likely see a dip in the user experience… And probably a return to essentially cable.