Netflix reported Tuesday that it finished Q1 2021 with 208 million paid memberships, a 14% increase year over year. While subscriber numbers are impressive, the company fell short of its projection of 210 million subscribers. Revenue increased 24% year over year and was in line with forecasts.
Netflix pointed to the increase in subscribers at the beginning of the pandemic, followed by “a lighter content slate in the first half of this year due to Covid-19 production delays” as a reason for not hitting subscriber goals in the first quarter.
In a letter to shareholders, the company notes that the second half of 2021 will feature a heavier slate of content, including “a large number of returning franchises” including The Witcher and You. Netflix will spend over $17 billion in cash on content this year to add more titles and more originals to the streaming service.
Netflix will continue to focus on local content, focusing on making content for local audiences without worrying about “travelability.” However, the letter also points out that these titles are finding audiences around the world. For example, Below Zero, a Spanish title saw 47 million views in its first four weeks. Who Killed Sara?, a Mexican title, has been viewed an estimated 55 million times, making it the most popular non-English title on the platform.