Netflix just lost subscribers for first time in over a decade — and it's about to get worse

Netflix logo on a TV screen with a remote pointing at it
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Sounds like some of you aren't around to tell Netflix that you're still watching. The streaming monolith just started to look a little less strong today, as the company appears to be hemorrhaging subscribers. (It's keeping its count of documentaries up, though, as Netflix's new No. 1 movie shines the light on Abercrombie & Fitch's terrible behavior.)

Through Netflix's financial earnings released today (April 19), we learned that Netflix actually lost subscribers overall for the first quarter of 2022. In total, Netflix is now down 200,000 subscribers, its first loss in more than a decade according to CNBC. And it's pushing Netflix to consider ads and cracking down on account-sharing. The one caveat on Netflix's side is that its suspension of service in Russia pulled 700,000 subscribers, so the streaming service could have avoided an overall loss had things gone differently.

And apparently, things will only get worse in the second quarter. which runs from April to June. Even with much-hyped returns — Ozark season 4 part 2 (April 29), Stranger Things season 4 (beginning on May 27) and Umbrella Academy season 3 (June 22) — Netflix expects to lose a whopping 2 million subscribers before July. Right now it seems many people are asking should you cancel Netflix?

Analysis: Netflix's problems aren't hiding

An increasingly-crowded war among the best streaming services was never going to help Netflix, with everyone else nipping at its heels. But competition is far from the only reason people likely canceled their subscriptions.

Here at Tom's Guide, I obsessively blogged my story about how I canceled Netflix  (because it dropped AMC's Halt and Catch Fire) and came back months later (to get ready for Better Call Saul season 6), but the bigger story is clear for all Netflix subscribers to see.

Yet another Netflix price increase was announced at the start of 2022, bringing Standard Netflix (the 1080p one) up to $15.49 per month. This is the most popular version of Netflix and the most expensive subscription service (ad-free HBO Max is $14.99 per month).

That price hike, combined with inflation, puts subscribers in a position where they've got to reconsider their Netflix accounts. Even my parents are considering canceling Netflix.

But, take it from me, a Netflix subscriber: this company hasn't gained much good faith with its seeming eagerness to cancel its own shows. GLOW season 3 ended in a way that made me and at least one of my colleagues excited for season 4. But Netflix canceled the series after it was renewed. Nor is that an uncommon occurrence; in fact Netflix just canceled this show with 83% Rotten Tomatoes score.

Interestingly enough, Netflix also noted that the dramatic increase of subscribers who were staying at home during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic "clouded the picture" and "significantly" increased its growth. Netflix also pointed out how Netflix account-sharing is likely messing with its profits, writing "in addition to our 222 [million] paying households, we estimate that Netflix is being shared with over 100 [million] additional households." No wonder Netflix is trying to fight account-sharing, if a third of its users aren't paying up. Though we think Netflix's account sharing crackdown won't actually help.

In other streaming news, here's the one Roku setting I wish I'd known to turn off. Plus, things aren't getting any better for Netflix as the streamer just confirmed it's canceled a show before it even aired a single episode

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

  • atari_guy
    We cancelled Netflix about 2 years ago after subscribing to Disney+ and then realizing a month later that we weren't using Netflix anymore. We're now considering cancelling Disney+ and going over to Crunchyroll. We've kept Amazon Prime all this time, but only want to pay for one other service.
  • klg4rebz
    admin said:
    Netflix has a subscribers problem, and it is about to get much worse according to the service's own numbers.

    Yikes! More people canceled Netflix than subscribed for the first time in a decade : Read more

    Or, how about stop catering to pedophiles and exploiting children in the name of "art"? That'd probably help lessen losing customers as well.