Despite increased competition from new streamers on the block Discovery Plus and HBO Max, Netflix added a further 1.81 million subscribers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the first quarter of 2021.
The company’s total paid membership in the region now stands at 68.5 million, up from 66.7 million at the end of 2020.
The number is a significant drop compared with the 6.9 million new subscribers Netflix attracted in Q1 of 2020.
Globally, the company reported 208 million subscribers as of the end of the first quarter, missing its own prediction for 210 million.
“We believe paid membership growth slowed due to the big Covid-19 pull forward in 2020 and a lighter content slate in the first half of this year, due to Covid-19 production delays,” the company said in its quarterly letter to shareholders. “We continue to anticipate a strong second half with the return of new seasons of some of our biggest hits and an exciting film lineup.”
Netflix revealed it plans to spend over $17 billion on content this year, a significant increase from its 2020 spend of $11.8 billion, when the pandemic led to production delays across the industry, and a 2019 content spend of $13.9 billion.