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Global Economy

"Stranger Things" directed Netflix

Farah Fawcett haircuts, walkie-talkie radio messages, Ghostbusters disguises, and monsters that look like they're straight out of the imaginations of James Cameron, Ridley Scott, and Steven Spielberg: The Stranger Things series is full of tributes to that 1980s cinema.

It is not least thanks to the 1980s nostalgia that has been rampant for years that the mystery horror series, which is set in the fictional town of Hawkins in Indiana just this decade, has achieved such cult status.

Netflix can score with "Stranger Things".

The hype surrounding the series is likely to have saved the video streaming service Netflix from the worst in the past quarter. The series' fourth season was the most popular the streaming service says it's ever aired — at least in English. "Stranger Things" should have made a significant contribution to mitigating the loss of customers at Netflix.

In fact, the video-streaming service lost less than half as many subscribers as management had feared in the past quarter. From April to June, the number fell by 970,000, the US group announced yesterday after the stock market closed.

Netflix stock asked for numbers

In April, Netflix warned that two million customers would be lost in the quarter. That had raised questions about long-term growth prospects. Investors therefore reacted to the figures with great relief. Netflix shares rose almost 10 percent in after-hours trading.

The paper, which was once one of the big winners of the pandemic, was last passed down on the stock exchange. Netflix stock has lost nearly two-thirds of its value this year.

Strong dollar as a stress factor

However, the outlook remains cautious. For the current quarter, Netflix only expects around one million new users. Analysts had expected significantly more with 1.84 million. The bottom line is that Netflix earned $1.44 billion in the past quarter; a year ago it was 1.35 billion.

For the past quarter, Netflix also said that sales had increased by nine percent to $8.0 billion. Without the strong dollar, the plus would have been 13 percent, it said. However, Netflix is not the only US company to suffer from the strong "greenback". Recently, IBM and Johnson & Johnson had also complained about negative currency effects.

Netflix plans advertising variant

The burdens and challenges for the group, which faces increasing competition from Walt Disney, Warner Bros Discovery and Apple, have not diminished. After the weak first half of the year, Netflix is putting a lot of things to the test, including long-standing traditions. In the most recent seasons of its hit series "Stranger Things" and "Ozark", the video service no longer released all the episodes at once, as it used to.

CEO Reed Hastings has already given in to an even bigger taboo: Given the weak development in user numbers, Netflix will offer a cheaper version of its streaming service with advertising clips. With this, Netflix breaks with its corporate DNA, since the group grew up banning advertising completely from its offer.

In order to slow down the loss of customers, Netflix can only hope for "Stranger Things" again. Because it is already clear: There will be a fifth season – but it will be the last.

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