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Netflix to offer free trial in India as sign-ups slow

Asia-Pacific contributes most quarterly subscriptions as revenue jumps 66%

PALO ALTO, U.S. -- Netflix is planning to offer a free weekend trial in India, the company said during an earnings call on Tuesday, when the streaming pioneer reported slower third-quarter subscription growth after a record number of subscribers had signed up in the first half of 2020.

The 48-hour trial will come to India later this year, and there are plans to bring the same campaign to other regions.

"We think that giving everyone in a country access to Netflix for free for a weekend could be a great way to expose a bunch of new people to the amazing stories that we have," said Greg Peters, Netflix's COO and chief product officer on the earnings call. "Hopefully [we can] get a bunch of those folks to sign up."

Some 2.2 million new paid members joined the service in the third quarter, down from the record 15.8 million in the first quarter and 10.1 million during the following three months.

The Asia-Pacific region was the largest contributor, at 1.01 million new paid sign-ups, 46% of the quarter's total.

Netflix executives expected the slowdown after the company's record first half, when coronavirus-led lockdowns motivated people around the globe to subscribe to the movie and TV show service.

"The biggest impact was really the first half of the year and that giant pull forward and subscriber additions in the first half of the year with COVID," Netflix CFO Spence Neumann said.

For the three months ended on Sept. 30, Netflix recorded $6.4 billion in total revenue, up 22.7% from the same period last year. The Asia-Pacific region contributed $635 million, up 66% year over year.

Netflix shares fell more than 5% during Tuesday after-hours trading.

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