Netflix on Tuesday topped subscriber growth expectations in the past quarter, keeping ahead of new streaming rivals competing for viewers stuck in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
As per details, the streaming platform added some 8.5 million paid subscribers in the quarter to reach 203 million, topping 200 million despite recent price hikes, its quarterly earning update has revealed.
“COVID-19 has accelerated that big shift from linear to streaming entertainment,” said Netflix chief financial officer Spencer Neumann. “So, the underlying long-term looks good.”
The company’s cash flow was so strong that it will no longer borrow money to pay for operations, and is considering starting to buy back shares, according to a letter to investors.
Netflix shares jumped more than 12 percent in after-market trades following the release. Profits dipped to $542 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $587 million in the same period in 2019. But overall revenue in the quarter surged 21.5 percent to $6.6 billion.
According to the earnings report, Netflix added a record 37 million paid memberships for the full year. Paid membership increased 23 percent in the final quarter of 2020 when compared with the same period a year earlier, but average revenue per membership was flat, according to the Silicon Valley-based company.
While Netflix raised rates slightly in the US late last year, the majority — some 83 percent — of its new subscribers were from outside North America, the earnings report indicated.
Meanwhile, Netflix has invested heavily in original shows and films to make itself a must-have service in the increasingly competitive streaming market. Netflix executives said their productions are back up and running in most regions after being derailed by the pandemic.
Netflix boasted having more than 500 titles in post-production or being readied for release on the service, with the plan being to launch at least one new original film every week.
Already the master of the pandemic-era movie landscape, Netflix last week offered a preview of upcoming 2021 releases, a list with no fewer than 70 star-studded feature films.
From drama, comedy, and science fiction to horror and even Westerns, the slate will take in every major film genre before the year is out, with some releases poised as potential competition for major awards.