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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix on Thursday said it added 4.4 million subscribers globally last quarter, which not only beat Wall Street expectations, but also marked the first time that the company reported positive subscriber gains in the past six months.

Why it matters: The tech giant credits a more normalized content release schedule last quarter for the gains. It blamed subscriber slowdowns during the past two quarters on COVID-related production delays.

Details: The company credited increased investments in foreign programming for user engagement gains, beginning with "La Casa de Papel" and more recently with its mega-hit "Squid Game."

  • Squid Game has been ranked Netflix's top program in 94 countries. The company said 142 million member households globally watched the title in its first four weeks, a stat it called "mind-boggling" in a letter to shareholders.

Between the lines: The company said later this year, it will switch the metric it uses to describe engagement with its shows from the number of accounts that watched them to the number of hours viewed.

  • The tech giant says that it thinks this is a better indicator of overall success of its titles and it "also matches how outside services measure TV viewing and gives proper credit to rewatching."
  • The company said it will also begin to more regularly release title metrics outside of its earnings report so that people could get a better sense of how Netflix titles perform in real-time, similar to television ratings.

By the numbers, per CNBC:

  • Earnings per share (EPS): $3.19 vs $2.56 according to Refinitiv survey of analysts
  • Revenue: $7.48 billion vs $7.48 billion, according to Refinitiv
  • Global paid net subscriber additions: 4.4 million vs 3.84 million, according to StreetAccount

What to watch: The company continues to face a saturated streaming market in the U.S. and will need to look abroad to continue adding more subscribers. Netflix said that Asia Pacific region was its largest contributor to membership growth last quarter.

Go deeper ... Netflix's earnings over the past year:

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Dec 10, 2021 - Sports

College football bowl season is almost here

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Bowl season begins a week from Friday and ends with the CFP National Championship on Jan. 10, the 44th game of the postseason.

The big picture: There's still time to plan that trip...

2 hours ago - World

U.S: Nord Stream 2 "will not move forward" if Russia invades Ukraine

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price during a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will make sure the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany won't go ahead if Russian troops invade Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told NPR on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Germany's ambassador to the U.S. appeared to support Price's strong rhetoric on the strategically significant pipeline that would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion, per Axios' Zachary Basu.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.