Netflix added 8.76 million subscribers in the last quarter of 2019 where Apple TV+ launched in over 100 countries and Disney started rolling out its streaming service. The company says that The Witcher will be its "biggest season one" TV series.
Strong international growth
8.76 million additional Netflix subscribers in Q4 2019 compare to 8.84 million in Q4 2018, which is a record for a fourth quarter. Netflix now has over 167 million subscribers in total and expects to add an additional 7 million in Q1 2020.
Many had questioned Netflix's ability to keep its viewers engaged and continue its growth as Apple and Disney entered the arena in the last quarter of 2019. Apple TV+ launched simultaneously in over 100 countries in November 2019 and Disney+ followed shortly after in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Netherlands. Disney+ will expand to many more European countries starting March 2020.
So far, Netflix continues to see strong growth in subscriber numbers across all regions, although at a slightly slower pace in the US and Canada (0.55m in Q4 2019 versus 1.75m in Q4 2018). The company said its growth is driven by original programming and the worldwide adoption of streaming video.
- "Global paid net additions totaled 8.8m in Q4, on par with the 8.8m in the prior year period and ahead of our forecast of 7.6m, fueled by our broad slate of original programming and the worldwide adoption of streaming video," the company said.
The Witcher is "biggest season one"
To hammer home its message, Netflix touted huge audience numbers. In its first 4 weeks, 6 Underground was watched by 83 million households while season three of The Crown was watched by 21 million and Klaus was watched by 40 million. It expects You to be watched by 54 million households in its first 4 weeks.
The company also emphasized that The Witcher is tracking to be its biggest season one TV series to date.
- "During December, we also launched The Witcher, which is tracking to be our biggest season one TV series ever. Through its first four weeks of release, 76m member households chose to watch this action-packed fantasy, starring Henry Cavil."
However, to reach those huge numbers Netflix has had to change its methodology. Instead of a household having to complete at least 70% of a movie or a single episode, it now counts a view after just 2 minutes of watch time. The company said that this is similar to how BBC iPlayer and YouTube are counting views.
Netflix is already the world's biggest video streaming service and its wild growth continues. How big can the market leader become? 250 million subscribers? 500 million? 1 billion?
- Source: Netflix earnings report