Smartphone with Netflix logo is seen in front of a descending stock graph Image Credit: Reuters

Los Angeles: Netflix Inc said on Tuesday it lost 970,000 subscribers from April through June, averting the worst-case scenario projected by the company, and predicted it would return to customer growth during the third quarter.

Netflix shares, which have fallen roughly 67 per cent this year on concerns about future growth, rose 7 per cent in after hours trade following the results.

The world’s largest streaming service also said it plans to launch an ad-supported option next year, and it warned that the strong dollar was also hitting revenue booked from subscribers abroad.

Netflix had said in April that it expected to lose 2 million customers in the current quarter, shocking Wall Street and raising questions about its long-term prospects.

Defections for the second quarter were not as steep as expected, and Netflix estimated its new customer additions for July through September would amount to 1 million. Wall Street analysts were expecting 1.84 million, according to analysts polled by Refinitiv.

After years of red-hot growth, Netflix’s fortunes changed as rivals including Walt Disney Co, Warner Bros Discovery and Apple Inc invest heavily in their own streaming services.

In a letter to shareholders, the company said it had further examined the slowdown, which it had attributed to a variety of factors including password sharing, competition and a sluggish economy.

Netflix remains the dominant streaming service around the world with nearly 221 million global paid subscribers.

In April, the company said it was addressing customer defections in part by planning a crackdown on password-sharing and launching the less-expensive tier with advertising. Last week, Netflix announced Microsoft Corp as its technology and sales partner for the ad-supported offering .

The company also is working to build on the popularity of the series “Stranger Things” and seeking to turn some of its biggest successes into franchises.

For April through June, earnings-per-share came in at $3.20.

Netflix said the strong U.S. dollar hit revenue, which grew 9 per cent. Revenue would have increased by 13 per cent without the foreign exchange impact, the company said.