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Netflix's marketing spend has grown at the quickest rate in more than two years as the video streaming market becomes more competitive, according to a WARC Data analysis of the latest company data.

Marketing spend rose 39.0% year on year in Q2 2021, the largest increase since 2018, to reach $604.0m. This is the largest amount the company has ever spent on marketing in a second quarter.

Netflix actually cut its marketing spend to a three year low in 2020, partly as a result of strong subscriber growth from audiences at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, as stay-at-home restrictions have eased in some markets and competitors have launched, growth has slowed. The number of paying Netflix subscribers rose just 0.7% in Q2 2021, the slowest rate of increase in at least four years. This takes the total number to 209.2m.

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The company actually lost subscribers in the United States and Canada in Q2 2021, falling 433,000 (-0.6%) from the first three months of the year.

Subscriber growth also slowed elsewhere – rising just 0.3% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and increasing by 3.8% in Asia Pacific. This is the slowest quarter-on-quarter growth in more than four years for both regions. Latin America subscribers rose by 2.0%, quicker than in Q1 2021.

However, Netflix added 1.5m paid subscribers in total in Q2 2021, ahead of the 1.0m they had initially forecast. Growth is expected to accelerate in the third quarter, with 3.5m new subscribers projected. This compares to the 2.2m added in Q3 2020.

In the latest company report, Netflix argues there is a clear opportunity for growth as streaming represents just 27% of US TV consumption, per Nielsen figures. Although a broad range of video platforms are competing for this audience, Netflix also sees competition from other channels, including gaming and social media.

WARC Data clients can access the latest data on Netflix's performance here.