Netflix did not add nearly as many subscribers as the company estimates in the second quarter of 2019, and saw a loss in US subscribers for the first time since 2011 when the company divorced its DVD mail order system and streaming platform.
The company lost approx. 130,000 US subscribers in Q2, achieving only 2.7 million global subscribers, suggesting it would add 5 million. CEO Reed Hastings owed the stagnation of the company's price increases and lack of original content to bring in new subscribers. The company introduced higher price plans in January, one of the biggest increase so far. Plan changes came into force for both new and return subscribers. As such, paid membership in the United States was "essentially flat."
"Our missed forecast was over all regions, but a bit more in regions with price increases," Hastings wrote in a letter to the shareholders. "We do not believe that competition was a factor since it was not a significant change in the competitive landscape in the second quarter, and competitive intensity and intrusion are varied throughout the region."
The news has led to an immediate stockpile for the company. Hastings investor letter claims that the next two quarters will see growth due to new seasons of Netflix successes such as Stranger Things La Casa de Papel (Money Heist), The Crown and Orange is New Black who gets a last season. Nevertheless, the stockpile and Disney, WarnerMedia, Apple and NBC Universal's race to create the first "Netflix killer" may be a sign that confidence in Netflix is slowing.
Now Hastings, who once famously told that Netflix's biggest competitor is sleep, is trying to get that confidence back. The CEO addressed the loss of Friends and The Office two of the most sought after shows in his letter.
"Much of our home and finally global Disney directory as well as Friends, The Office and any other licensed content will come down over the next few years, freeing up the budget for more original content , "wrote Hastings. "From what we've seen before when we release strong catalog content (Starz and Epix with Sony, Disney and Paramount movies, or other round series from Fox, for example), our members are switching to enjoying our other good content."  Netflix is still a leader in the streaming industry, but Hastings and other leaders know the competition is threatening. Disney and Apple are launching their respective streaming platforms this year, incorporating a wave of new tent poles. Disney, which will charge $ 6.99 per month, also has a huge catalog of fan and family favorites, and it brings some of its most popular characters from Marvel and Star Wars movies to new TV shows for their service. Apple allegedly spends up to $ 15 million per episode on its series. See, with Jason Momoa – more than HBO used on episodes of Thrones games .
Managers at Netflix know they have to invest in new series that can replace Friends and The Office but the company has already expected to spend more than $ 15 billion on content this year.