Netflix saw a surge in subscriptions in 2022, thanks in part to ‘Harry & Meghan’

The British media is so eager for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to fail. They live in their own little world where they try to speak bad things into existence just by paying “sources” to make evil predictions. Predictions which then turn into headlines and stories about how the Sussexes failed at this or that. Then, days later, it turns out that the Sussexes had some kind of massive, record-breaking success. So it was with Netflix’s Harry and Meghan, a six-part docuseries which destroyed many a sleep cycle in December. We already knew it was a massive hit for Netflix. But the Daily Mail still tried to convince everyone that Netflix’s business was failing and it was all H&M’s fault. Last week, the Mail ran this headline: “Netflix expects to announce just 4.5 million extra subscribers – half the same time last year – despite launching low-cost tier and a string of hot ticket releases including Harry & Meghan.” One of the sub-heads was: “Netflix is expected to turn in its lowest addition for holiday period since 2014.” Would it shock you to learn that the Mail is full of sh-t?

Netflix reported its fourth-quarter 2022 earnings Thursday, revealing financial performance for the three-month period during which the platform’s cheaper, ad-supported plan launched and the new Tim Burton drama “Wednesday” regularly dominated the weekly Top 10 rankings.

The streamer added 7.66 million net new subscribers in Q4, compared to its own estimation of 4.5 million additions. And Netflix ended 2022 with 230.75 million worldwide, smashing its previous target of 227.59 million. That represents 4% year over year growth in total subs, with paid memberships rising by 910,000 in the U.S. and Canada, 3.2 million throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 1.76 million in Latin America and 1.8 million in the Asia-Pacific region.

In discussing its financial results for the quarter, Netflix management stated flatly that the company’s most free-spending years are behind them. The current quarter marks 10 years since Netflix up-ended the industry with the launch of original series content with the David Fincher drama series “House of Cards.”

“Now that we are a decade into our original programming initiative and have successfully scaled it, we are past the most cash intensive phase of this buildout,” Netflix wrote in its letter to shareholders. “As a result, we believe we will now be generating sustained, positive annual free cash flow going forward. Assuming no material swings in (foreign currency fluctuations), we expect at least $3B of FCF for the full year 2023.”

[From Variety]

Packaged within Netflix’s announcements about their huge surge in fourth-quarter subscriptions and revenue, they also confirmed that Harry and Meghan was the second most-popular documentary in the company’s history:

Netflix has announced the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s explosive recent series is its second-highest ranked documentary ever. Netflix reported its fourth quarter earnings on Thursday and disclosed a gain of 7.7 million subscribers during the October-December period, a stretch that included the debut of an ad-supported option for seven dollars (£5.65) per month.

As defined by cumulative view hours in the first 28 days, it also reported on Wednesday as its third-most popular series ever, Glass Onion its fourth-most popular film and Harry & Meghan its second-most successful documentary series.

[From Bloomberg]

I sort of questioned the wisdom of putting the docuseries in the middle of December, but it ended up working out okay, I think. A lot of people watched it as the series came out, and then even more people got the chance to watch it over the holidays. I’m really glad that the series was such a success, and I hope that people support the Sussexes’ other Netflix projects, especially Harry’s upcoming Heart of Invictus series. I still say that, within the industry, the success of Wednesday is probably a bigger story though!

Photos courtesy of Netflix, screencap of the Daily Mail’s dumb headline.

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54 Responses to “Netflix saw a surge in subscriptions in 2022, thanks in part to ‘Harry & Meghan’”

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  1. Harla A Brazen Hussy says:

    Meg & Haz certainly have the Midas touch!! I’ve so been enjoying this journey for them, I know that there have been rough moments and will probably be more in the future but the way that they are moving forward on their own terms is inspiring!

  2. Amie says:

    I love when the Daily Fail is wrong. But also the crazies who kept screaming and crying that they were done with Netflix. They weren’t most likely. And also neither is Netflix. Everyone just loves to pretend Netflix and Spotify are disappointed in HM but they bring in huge numbers.

    • The Old Chick says:

      My favs were the ones screaming and crying that they bought all 3.2 mill books… The royals have brain damaged fans.

      • kelleybelle says:

        While also sporadically reporting that the Sussexes are broke?? Comedy gold.

      • Robert Phillips says:

        No. They don’t have any fans. It’s just these reporters are starting to realize their living comes off of reporting about the royal family. And now the royal family is totally boring. So they are starting to lose money. Harry & Meaghan are the only ones who bring in the clicks for them. So they will keep up the lies until the bitter end.

    • Tacky says:

      The British tabs bet on the wrong horse. Now they are stuck with the boring P&Pmof Wales as the face of the modern monarchy.

      • Smart&Messy says:

        Yes, they are stuck in the wrong lane now. And look at that picture of H and M working side by side in their office. Can you imagine Pegs and Keen doing the same. LOL

        They appear solid in their marriage in Spare, because they were united in bullying H and M. It ended not long after the Ss left the country. Then Pegs dropped Keen like hot potato again.

    • BeanieBean says:

      I love when they’re wrong, too. I would like to know, which came first–the DF blatant lie or Netflix’s own reported numbers. Pretty brazen lying from DF, whichever the order.

      • CourtneyB says:

        DM didn’t lie so much as jump the gun. The Variety article states that Netflix itself EXPECTED to have that lower number. Of course I’m sure the DM will run a new article with the correct number. /s

  3. Chloe says:

    I guess it is always opposite day in the world of the daily mail. But the documentary series was well executed. So i am not surprised at it’s succes. I myself go back regularly to watch the episodes again. The perfect blend of harry and meghans side of the story and sweet family moments.

    Now as for Heart of Invictus, i just hope it gets as much promo as harry’s memoir. I feel like that’s where they dropped the ball a bit with live to lead

    • Kp says:

      All of their projects will not get the same amount of promo. If you were to look at what the Obama’s did only the projects they featured on got tons of promos.

      Everything else they released was to no fanfare at all. I expect that will be the same for Harry and Meghan.

      I feel like people have unreasonable expectations for how Harry and Meghan should operate when there’s already a blueprint for most Netflix films and docs. A lot of what they produce might just be filler content for Netflix. That’s to be expected.

      • Chloe says:

        Well not giving HoI the proper promo would be a shame because those veteran voices deserve to be heard.

      • Snuffles says:

        Not every project will be a blockbuster. I’m curious to see how the others will go. I think Heart of Invictus will do well because the games are well established and successful. There will be many who would love to see the athletes stories. Still, it won’t do Harry and Meghan numbers.

        I predict the most successful projects will be the ones where Harry and Meghan are front and center. Like Archetypes had nothing to do with the royal family, but people loved hearing Meghan interview people and talk about the subject matter. People want to see and hear from both of them. No matter what the topic is. The buzz is Harry is up next on Spotify.

        I wonder if they will do fictional content. In one of those interviews, Meghan talked about wanting to produce rom coms. I would LOVE to see that!

      • Snuffles says:

        Just wanted to add, if Harry and Meghan’s peeps are watching… bring back The Tig!! Turn it into a Netflix series. Also do a Netflix series on Archewell. Setting it up, all of the projects and collaborations they’ve worked on. The public will lap it up!! Call it “Archewell: Service is Universal”.

    • Eurydice says:

      I don’t know that anything will have the same worldwide gossip appeal as Spare and the H&M docuseries.

  4. Snuffles says:

    I don’t live in the UK absorbing the toxic media daily, but it seems like they try to create an alternative reality for everything, not just Harry and Meghan and the monarchy. They’re doing it with Brexit and the economy as well. One of these days ACTUAL reality is going to smack the public in the face and there won’t be enough Sussex “news” on the planet to distract them.

    • Julia K says:

      Of you just tell the truth you won’t be burdened by trying to remember all the lies. We live in a whole world of lies and liars. It’s depressing as h_ll.

    • Lolo86lf says:

      I don’t live in England absorbing the toxic hatred the British tabloids spew against Harry and Meghan but I also wonder just how easily manipulated and gullible the British citizens are ? Do they buy all the vitriol that’s thrown at them. Some Americans certainly are gullible fools AKA Fox News viewers.

      • Snuffles says:

        I remember chatting with a Brit once who claimed she never read the tabloids but was still parroting most of the tabloid talking points but in a watered down way. Like, her opinion wasn’t as intense as, say, a Deranger, but it was still there. And it was clear she didn’t know all of the facts. I kept telling her, even if she doesn’t read it directly, the way the British media works, it filters out to you anyways because even the “legit” news platforms these tabloid reporters to repeat their talking points.

      • Nic919 says:

        The tabloid stuff shows up in mainstream papers in the UK, including the Telegraph, Times, independent and guardian so unless a British reader is actively applying critical analysis to all media then they are being provided a biased view of everything. Avoiding the DM , the Sun and other tabs isn’t enough.

        Covering for the royal establishment is what all UK media does in some form and the success of Harry and Meghan leaving is a threat to that establishment.

  5. Becks1 says:

    I think the docuseries was perfectly timed with their other projects. I do wonder if Harry’s memoir was meant to come out a month earlier – so archetypes ends, docuseries, and then the memoir all before Xmas, but with the mourning period for the queen archetypes was delayed, and then if Harry wanted to add something to his book that would have delayed it. (Wonder if there is a printed version of the book out without the final part about QE’s death?)

    I do think the timing of Spare has been perfect though, in terms of PR and the news cycle, so maybe it was the plan all along. IDK.

    Anyway of course HM are more successful than the british press will admit. They are still trying to convince people they are failing.

    • Louise177 says:

      If Spare was supposed to come out before Christmas, I think the delay was a benefit. Although the podcast had little to do with the Royal family, having it end and beginning the docuseries and releasing Spare within a few weeks would have been overexposure.
      The British media is bizarre in trying to make everything Harry and Meghan do is a failure. They called the book a bomb because the Obama books sold more. The DM also had a story that Montecito hates them because one bookstore sold 30 copies. Nevermind it’s a small town, there are other bookstores, and online ordering but their readers don’t care about logic and facts..

      • PunkPrincessPhD says:

        @Louise – nevermind that Montecito, and half of California, has been in the midst of devastating floods … Like, can’t blame people for not stopping to buy their neighbour’s book!

        The media narratives are just being stretched beyond credulity at this point.

      • windyriver says:

        30 copies for a small independent bookstore seems pretty good, actually. And we know a large portion of Spare’s sales have been e-books and audio. But, if info can be spun for a damaging headline, the DM will do it.

        Montecito was actually under an evacuation order on the day Spare was published. Ellen DeGeneres posted a scary video online of the raging creek at the edge of their property, already 9 feet up and expected to go up another two. (They’re on higher ground and were told to shelter in place.)

      • T3PO says:

        Regarding buying a physical copy VS audio copy I say go with th audiobook. It’s been nice hearing Harry share his story. I think that with most memoirs read by the author. You get their tone and inflection as they intended it to be heard.

  6. Eurydice says:

    Well, the DM is always full of shit, but I wonder why Netflix’s 4th quarter projections were so wrong. Still, congrats to H&M – I hope they have many more successes.

  7. Amy Bee says:

    If the British press want Harry and Meghan to fail they need to stop talking about and giving them free promos.

  8. aquarius64 says:

    The BM act like it’s the only source of information, as if no one will look at other sources. The Fail left out a chunk of that report, conforming what Harry has said: the BM is the propaganda arm of the Firm.

  9. Pix says:

    My kids were obsessed with Wednesday, Jenny Ortega, and the dance scene. I was happy to let them watch so I could watch Harry & Meghan uninterrupted. Win win!

  10. Vivian says:


  11. 2cents says:

    If H&M was the second highest ranked documentary ever on Netflix, what was the highest ranked Netflix documentary ever? I cannot find it on the internet.

    Netflix has announced the H&M debut as their most viewed docu in its first week ever.

    Why is it not mentioned in the Bloomberg article?

  12. MsIam says:

    So happy for Harry and Meghan’s success! I wish it would be enough for the other side to give up their one sided war but alas.

  13. C-Shell says:

    My admiration for Harry, Meghan and Archewell is tremendous, in no small part because of how they strategize what and when they’ll produce content/announce what they’ve done for their causes, but largely because they choose award winning professionals to take the lead on their productions, just as Meghan chose iconic women and stellar women experts to participate in Archetypes. The results are award-worthy and deserve all the high ratings they’ve garnered.

    The Fail and it’s followers can go hang.

  14. Elsa says:

    I am still interested in Harry and Meghan content and plan to watch. I loved the docuseries and am still in the middle of Spare.

    Out of curiosity, what was the #1 docuseries?

  15. Athena says:

    I’m looking forward to watching Heart of Invictus and have my fingers crossed that Harry will do a series of podcasts on veteran issues.

  16. Cami says:

    I think I saw it was Beyoncé documentary that’s number one

  17. Nx2 says:

    Proud to say I joined Netflix because of Harry & Meghan. 🙂 I’ve been noticing a great deal of British journalism being fake af and selling lies for many years now. Writers put words in people’s mouths and make up whole fantasies about what they do and think, and expect readers to be dumb enough to believe it. It’s satisfying when the numbers defy their nonsense and there’s no way for them to spin it away.

    • Liz Version 700 says:

      I also rejoined Netflix to watch H&M’s series. Now I can finally watch Tiger King 🤭🤭

  18. Emily_C says:

    I re-joined Netflix because of this, then kept the subscription for Glass Onion, and then further kept it for Pinocchio. So long as they keep having good new content that appeals to me, I’ll keep the subscription. I want them to release episodes of series weekly though. I hate the binge-watch thing.

  19. HarryforLife says:

    I’d be interested to see how many copies that People cover with Harry sold (I haven’t bought a physical magazine in decades and I bought one). Seems like Stephen Colbert and 60 mins also had surges after Harry… but yeah, no fans, everyone hates them. Let’s focus on the many successes of William and Kate and Charles and Camilla… oh wait…

  20. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I continue to be perplexed why people read tabloids. Like at all. Ever.

  21. Ruby says:

    I had COVID right before Christmas and isolated from my family (first time I had any time to myself since I started having kids 6 years ago!) I watched the whole series in two days while I recuperated, just up in my room by myself, it was glorious!!! Watch, nap, then watch more.