Parqor is part of The Information’s newsletter network. To receive it in your inbox every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, sign up here.
Maximizing subscriber growth was a fun objective for media executives and Wall Street investors alike. Hollywood bosses got to rack up billions of dollars in annual losses on content spending with zero consequences, while the people footing the bill experienced the thrill of chasing the streaming multiple, otherwise known as Netflix’s once astonishing price-to-earnings ratio. Somehow, stock prices soared and everyone got richer.
Now stock prices are down, growth is out and there is a new metric to live by. Its name is ARPU, aka average revenue per user. It forces companies to accept they’ve hit a ceiling for subscriber growth, and demands they now squeeze subscribers for all they’re worth.