Netflix Added 2.6M U.S. Subscribers In July, Continuing Advertising Momentum Amid Password-Sharing Crackdown, Study Finds

Netflix continued to add subscribers in the U.S. at a high rate in July after initiating a crackdown on password sharing in May, according to new data from research firm Antenna.

The streaming giant had 2.6 million gross subscriber additions in July, the latest figures show. The company also saw the highest percentage of new sign-ups going to its advertising tier since the $7-a-month offering hit the market last November. About 23% of new subscribers opted for the ad tier, a gain of four percentage points over June levels.

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The overall July gains represented a 26% downturn from June’s record-breaking numbers, but they still show momentum stretching back to the May 23 introduction of paid password sharing in the U.S. From May 24 to 27, Netflix had its four biggest single days of sign-ups in the four-and-a-half years since Antenna has began tracking its subscribers, outpacing even the 2020 Covid boom.

The new password scheme followed last fall’s debut of the cheaper, ad-supported subscription tier, with the combination of the two providing a potent boost. In the second quarter ending June 30, the company reported that it doubled projections by adding 5.9 million subscribers, reaching 238.3 million worldwide.

Antenna derives its subscriber numbers from online purchase receipts, credit, debit and banking data, and bill-scrape data and then factors in various demographic and behavioral elements. Customers taking advantage of free trials are not counted.

The new Netflix password-sharing plan imposes an $8 fee for anyone sharing their login credentials, an effort to recapture billions in revenue the company has forfeited in the name of subscriber growth for most of its 15-year run in streaming. Netflix’s financial performance and stock price have improved significantly since the password and advertising initiatives kicked in as Wall Street has reassessed the company after its rocky period in late-2021 and the first half of 2022.

While Netflix has not given a full breakdown of how many of its subscribers have switched to the cheaper ad tier, execs have touted the progress on passwords. Speaking on the company’s second-quarter earnings call in July, Co-CEO Greg Peters said execs “know that it’s working.”

The caliber of the customers who switch from using someone else’s subscription to paying for their own has been high, Peters added. “They are choosing plans and engaging at rates, have retention characteristics that generally look like higher-tenure members,” he said. “That’s good.”

Netflix recently discontinued its ad-free Basic subscription tier, Antenna noted in a blog post. “We’ll be interested to see how this impacts the composition of Netflix subscriptions and sign-ups overall in the coming months,” the company wrote.

Below is a chart from Antenna showing U.S. signup activity in July:

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