Netflix is done telling us how many people use Netflix

From next year, it will only disclose subscriber counts when it wants some good PR.


Netflix will stop disclosing the number of people who signed up for its service, as well as the revenue it generates from each subscriber from next year, the company announced on Thursday. It will focus, instead, on highlighting revenue growth and the amount of time spent on its platform.

“In our early days, when we had little revenue or profit, membership growth was a strong indicator of our future potential,” the company said in a letter to shareholders. “But now we’re generating very substantial profit and free cash flow.”

Netflix revealed that the service added 9.33 million subscribers over the last few months, bringing the total number of paying households worldwide to nearly 270 million. Despite its decision to stop reporting user numbers each quarter, Netflix said that the company will “announce major subscriber milestones as we cross them,” which means we’ll probably hear about it when it crosses 300 million.

Netflix estimates that more than half a billion people around the world watch TV shows and movies through its service, an audience it is now figuring out how to squeeze even more money out of through new pricing tiers, a crackdown on password-sharing, and showing ads. Over the last few years, it has also steadily added games like the Grand Theft Auto trilogy, Hades, Dead Cells, Braid, and more, to its catalog.

Subscriber metrics are an important signal to Wall Street because they show how quickly a company is growing. But Netflix’s move to stop reporting these is something that we’ve seen from other companies before. In February, Meta announced that it would no longer break out the number of daily and monthly Facebook users each quarter but only reveal how many people collectively used Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram. In 2018, Apple, too, stopped reporting the number of iPhones, iPads, and Macs it sold each quarter, choosing to focus, instead, on how much money it made in each category.