• Netflix just blew past Wall Street's expectations for subscriber growth.
  • A big contributor to that was its limit on password sharing and its cheaper, ad-supported tier.
  • That bodes well for Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery, which plan to follow suit this year.

Netflix said it grew subscribers by 9.33 million worldwide in Q1 — double what Wall Street had expected.

Boosting its performance was the company's crackdown on password sharing, which has led to new signups, as well as its cheaper, ad-supported option. The ads tier costs less ($6.99 per month) than adding a member outside your household ($7.99 per month).

Netflix "added more subscribers than many analysts, myself included, expected," Emarketer senior analyst Ross Benes wrote. "This signals that password sharing was even more common than previously thought as Netflix keeps converting freeloader viewers into paid users."

There could be still more growth to come, as the crackdown helped drive nearly 30 million subscribers in FY23, while fully 100 million users are estimated to share their passwords, Macquarie wrote in a research note.

Netflix said its ad-supported tier grew 65% quarter on quarter, after nearly 70% sequential increases for the previous two quarters. Over 40% of signups in its markets that offer the ads tier are to that option.

The people at Disney are sure to be watching closely, with the company getting ready to tighten up on password sharing at Disney+ this summer, with a full crackdown to come in the fall.

Warner Bros. Discovery, too, said it would start limiting password sharing at streamer Max later this year.

So the password-sharing crackdown continues to be a win for Netflix — even if it effectively gives its rivals a road map to copy.

Read the original article on Business Insider