Netflix’s Sizzle Reel Needs to Impress

Netflix badly needs the second half of the year to go better than the first. Investors are already betting that it will.

The video streaming pioneer has seen anemic subscriber growth in the first six months of 2021, with a little over 5.5 million net new subscribers added in the period. That was well below the 25.9 million added in the same period last year, fitting with the company’s frequent warnings that mass lockdowns early in the Covid-19 outbreak pulled forward a significant amount of future growth. But this year also has been slow compared with the company’s pre-pandemic performance. First-half subscriber additions averaged about 10.6 million in the years 2015-2019. Subscriber growth in the first half of this year has been the lowest for Netflix since 2013 when it had about one-sixth its current base of 209 million subscribers.

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