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‘Stranger Things 3’ Helping Fuel Netflix Q3 Subscriber Lift, Analysts Suggest

The Upside Down appears to be helping Netflix’s subscriber numbers bounce back for the September quarter after the company’s big miss in customer growth projections for Q2.

In a report Monday, Bank of America Merrill Lynch cited data from research firm Sensor Tower finding that Netflix’s mobile-app downloads so far in the third quarter of 2019 are up 18% year over year and have increased around 30% sequentially. In the U.S., the company’s app downloads are up 6% versus the prior-year quarter and +13% from Q2 2019, while international app downloads are 21% higher annually and 34% sequentially.

The Q3 lift in Netflix app downloads was “likely aided” by the July 4 release of “Stranger Things” Season 3 as well as other programming, BoFA said in the research note.

The new data led Netflix stock to climb as much as 3.6% in early trading Monday before pulling back to close up 1.44% for the day.

Analyst research has previously pegged “Stranger Things” Season 3 as poised to be a subscriber magnet. A Cowen & Co. survey released in July found that 13% of former Netflix members said they planned to resubscribe to the service in order to watch S3 of the ’80s-set paranormal show while nearly 5% of consumers who weren’t current Netflix subscribers said they planned to subscribe to watch it.

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Netflix also has bragged about the performance of “Stranger Things 3,” although its in-house metrics are unverifiable by third-party services. The company claimed that 40.7 million accounts watched the show in the first four days of its debut, marking Netflix’s biggest-ever audience for a movie or TV series in a four-day window.

That said, Netflix is bracing for the impact of significant new competitors on its business. That includes the scheduled Nov. 12 launch of Disney Plus as well as Apple TV Plus, followed by WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s streaming play in 2020.

The upbeat mobile-download stats come after Netflix badly missed sub forecasts for the second quarter of 2019, posting its first net U.S. customer decline since 2011 while growth slowed considerably overseas. The company added 2.7 million subs worldwide in Q2, almost half as many as the 5 million it had projected.

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