Netflix's TV shows are slowing in popularity amid rising competition, but returning hits like 'Stranger Things' and 'Umbrella Academy' could help make up ground

·2 min read
Two men in suits hold the arms of a teenage girl with brown hair, bangs, and wearing a plaid shirt (the character Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown).
A still from "Stranger Things" season four.Netflix
  • Audience demand growth for Netflix's original content is slowing, according to a new report.

  • The data company Parrot Analytics said that Netflix should "refocus its content strategy."

  • Netflix laid off 150 staffers on Tuesday amid stalling subscriber growth.

Netflix's woes are piling up.

The streamer recently said it lost 200,000 subscribers in Q1, its first subscriber loss in a decade, and it anticipates losing 2 million more users in Q2. As it faces slowing growth and reevaluates its priorities, the company laid off at least 150 staffers on Tuesday.

The popularity of its original shows is slowing, too.

The data company Parrot Analytics, which measures audience demand for content, released its Q1 2022 streaming report on Tuesday, which showed that global demand growth for Netflix's original series plateaued over the last year as more streaming rivals entered the space.

Parrot Analytics' demand metric reflects the interest in and engagement with content, or its overall popularity.

Netflix originals face competition from more established IP on other streaming services, such as Marvel and "Star Wars" on Disney+ or DC on HBO Max.

The chart below illustrates Netflix's demand growth for its original content:

netflix demand growth
Parrot Analytics

"As demand for Netflix originals and the entire catalog continues to fall domestically and globally while demand for originals on other services grows, Netflix has to refocus its content strategy to extract the most value from every series ordered," Parrot Analytics wrote in its report, "focusing on the longevity potential of each series for underserved audiences instead of relying on increased content spend."

Netflix is taking some measures to combat its slow subscriber growth, including cracking down on password sharing. It said in its Q1 earnings report that 100 million people, on top of its 200 million paid subscribers, use Netflix through a shared password.

It also plans to introduce a cheaper ad-supported tier, something it resisted until now.

"Introducing an ad-tier should theoretically help slow churn in important regions like UCAN and LATAM, and could possibly bring back customers who canceled for a competitor," the report said.

But as far as content goes, Parrot Analytics said it would like to see Netflix's demand levels tick back up when hit series like "Stranger Things" and "The Umbrella Academy" return this year with new seasons.

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