Netflix, the world’s largest streaming service, announced on Tuesday that it was increasing the subscription prices for some of its plans in the US, UK and France, as it reported a strong growth in its global customer base.
The company said it added nearly 9 million subscribers in the third quarter of 2023, beating Wall Street analysts’ expectations of 6 million. It also forecast a similar number of additions in the current quarter, showing that it was thriving despite the ongoing strike by Hollywood actors that disrupted US production.
Netflix attributed its success to its diverse and rich content slate, which included original shows and movies from around the world, as well as licensed titles from other studios. The company said it accounted for 8% of television screen time, second only to YouTube.
The price hikes affected the premium ad-free plan in the US, UK and France, which allows users to watch on four screens at the same time and access ultra-high definition content. The cost for premium rose by $3 per month to $22.99 in the US, by £2 to £17.99 in the UK and by £2 to £19.99 in France.
Netflix said the price increases reflected its continued investment in content and technology, and that it offered more value than comparable plans from competitors.
Investors welcomed the news, sending Netflix shares up 13% in after-hours trading to $390.80 from a close of $346.19.
The company’s revenue for the third quarter was $8.54 billion, in line with analyst forecasts. Earnings came in at $3.73 per share, ahead of Wall Street’s expectation of $3.49.
Netflix’s subscriber base reached 247 million at the end of September, with more than 70% of its members residing outside the US. The company said it saw substantial growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where it added nearly 4 million subscribers.
Some of the most popular titles on Netflix during the quarter were “One Piece,” a live-action adaptation of the venerable Japanese manga series; “Suits,” a legal drama starring Meghan Markle that originally aired on the USA cable network; and “Band of Brothers,” a World War Two series produced by HBO.
Netflix said it had more opportunities to license hit titles from other studios as the competitive environment evolved. It also said it was committed to ending the strike by Hollywood actors, which had forced it to revise its projections on content spending to $13 billion in 2023, down from $17 billion.