Netflix now has more than 69 million subscribers, but the company added fewer new U.S. members last quarter than it predicted: 880,000, versus 1.15 million.
This shortcoming, funny enough, is linked to the U.S. “transition to chip-based credit and debit cards,” the company claimed in its third-quarter letter to shareholders:
While global growth was as we expected, our forecast was high for the US and low for international. We added 0.88 million new US members in the quarter compared to 0.98 million prior year and a forecast of 1.15 million. Our over-forecast in the US for Q3 was due to slightly higher-than-expected involuntary churn (inability to collect), which we believe was driven in part by the ongoing transition to chip-based credit and debit cards. In terms of US net additions, through the first nine months of 2015, we are slightly ahead of prior year, and we expect to finish 2015 at about 2014 levels. This would mark the 4th consecutive year we’ve added about 6 million members in the US.
However, the company says it’s on track to end 2015 flat with about as many new U.S. subscribers as it added in 2014. As Netflix’s growth rate in the U.S. flattens out (or even decelerates?) this year, the company must continue accelerating abroad — something it has been doing for some time now.