Netflix tops 200 million subscribers at end of 2020

Netflix tops 200 million subscribers at end of 2020

Netflix’s
video
streaming
service
has
surpassed
200
million
subscribers
for
the
first
time
as
its
expanding
lineup
of
TV
series
and
movies
continues
to

captivate
people
stuck
at
home

during
the
ongoing
battle
against
the
pandemic.

The
subscriber
milestone
highlighted
Netflix’s
fourth-quarter
results
released
Tuesday.
The
service
added
another
8.5
million
subscribers
during
the
October-December
period,
capping
Netflix’s
biggest
year
since
its
inception
as
a
DVD-by-mail
service
in
1997.
Netflix
ended
the
year
with
nearly
204
million
worldwide
subscribers.

The
fourth-quarter
gains
easily
topped
the
projections
of
the
roughly
6
million
additional
subscribers
projected
by
Netflix’s
own
management
and
Wall
Street
analysts.
Netflix’s
stock
surged
by
more
than
13
percent
extended
trading
after
the
latest
subscriber
numbers
came
out.

After
its
upending
of
the
DVD-rental
industry,
Netflix
introduced
the
then-revolutionary
concept
of
streaming
TV
shows
and
films
14
years
ago.
At
that
time,
its
service
had
a
mere
6
million
subscribers.

The
streaming
service
began
to
grow
rapidly
seven
years
ago
when
Netflix
started
producing
its
own
shows
and
accelerated
a
worldwide
expansion
that
now
spans
more
than
190
countries.
Since
the
February
2013
debut
of
its
first
original
series,
“House
of
Cards,”
Netflix
has
attracted
more
than
170
million
additional
subscribers.

Netflix
gained
another
37
million
subscribers
last
year,
a
22
percent
increase
from
2019.
Its
stock
fared
even
better,
rising
by
67
percent
last
year.
The
Los
Gatos,
Calif.,
company
now
boasts
a
market
value
of
more
than
$220
billion.

“Our
strategy
is
simple:
if
we
can
continue
to
improve
Netflix
every
day
to
better
delight
our
members,
we
can
be
their
first
choice
for
streaming
entertainment,”
the
company
wrote
Tuesday
in
its
quarterly
update
to
shareholders.
“This
past
year
is
a
testament
to
this
approach.”

For
all
its
success,
Netflix
still
faces
challenges
in
the
coming
years
from
bevy
of
deep-pocketed
rivals,
with
perhaps
the
most
formidable
posed
by
a
more
experienced
and
even
larger
entertainment
company:
Walt
Disney.

After
deciding
to
stop
licensing
its
library
to
Netflix,
Disney
introduced
its
own
video
streaming
service
14
months
ago.
The
service,
Disney
Plus,
has

proved
far
more
popular
than
anyone
imagined
,
accumulating
nearly
90
million
subscribers
in
its
first
year,
emboldening
the
company’s
management
to
predict
that
it
will
boast
as
many
as
260
million
subscribers
at
some
point
in
2024.

To
retain
and
attract
subscribers,
Netflix
has
been
spending
so
much
money
on
original
programming
that
the
company
usually
ends
up
shoveling
out
more
cash
than
its
video
services
brings
in
from
its
subscribers,
although
it
has
remained
profitable
under
the
accounting
standards
allowed
in
the
entertainment
industry.

The
company
earned
$542.2
million
on
revenue
of
$6.64
billion
in
the
fourth
quarter,
a
relatively
thin
profit
margin.

But
Netflix
finally
stopped
burning
through
cash
last
year,
largely
because
government
restrictions
imposed
during
the
pandemic
curtailed
the
production
of
programming.
Netflix
posted
a
positive
cash
flow
of
$1.9
billion
during
2020,
the
first
time
that
has
the
company
hasn’t
had
a
negative
cash
flow
for
an
entire
year
since
2011.

In
another
breakthrough,
Netflix
predicted
it
will
no
longer
need
to
raise
additional
cash
from
lenders
to
help
finance
its
original-programming
budget.
The
company
said
it
doesn’t
expect
to
experience
the
same
drain
on
its
cash
as
it
has
for
most
of
the
past
decade.

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