The coronavirus pandemic has had varying effects on people around the world. However, for online streamers like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu and others, it has proved to be most beneficial. This is quite evident in the membership surge that Netflix got in the first quarter of 2020 – all 16 million of it. Being stuck at home definitely calls for binging movies and series endlessly and that is something Netflix is famous for.
Netflix’s library of content is huge. Add to that shows like Tiger King and Money Heist Part 4 and other movies and series dropping on the platform almost every day, it really is no surprise why the streamer is so popular. So popular, infact, that Netflix saw a record 15.8 million subscribers added between January and March.
Although analysts did expect a surge in subscribers, considering the coronavirus, the numbers are double of what they expected for the period. It is also by far the biggest quarterly add since Netflix became an entity of its own several years ago. Before the virus hit the world at this rate, Netflix had predicted about seven million new global subscribers for this time period.
“We’re acutely aware that we are fortunate to have a service that is even more meaningful to people confined at home, and which we can operate remotely with minimal disruption in the short to medium term. Like other home entertainment services, we’re seeing temporarily higher viewing and increased membership growth,” the company said in an investor letter.
The addition has put Netflix’s global base to nearly 183 million.
The company has further forecasted that the second quarter will add 7.5 million subscribers. However, at a time that is so uncertain, it is difficult to be sure with the numbers.
Netflix has further added that it will continue to venture into new genres of entertainment. It will add more to the unscripted genre with more programming in the home improvement and real estate categories.
Netflix, however, is not alone to bag subscribers. Apple and Disney both entered the streaming wars late 2019 and NBCUniversal just released its streaming service last week. Another highly anticipated streamer is going to enter the market on May 27 – HBO Max. In a bid to compete against Disney+, which already has 50 million subscribers in 5 months, Netflix has planned to add more family-oriented programmes to its library.
However, the coronavirus has also affected the company negatively, just like every other business. Filming of almost all of Netflix’s productions has been put on hold, except in Korea and Iceland. Animation projects are continuing their productions through work-from-home setups. Apart from this, the company said that almost 200 projects are in post-production.
Notably, the company said that the content slate will not be affected in the upcoming term. Most shows for 2020, including The Crown and Over the Moon, are in post-production. Thus all the shows and films scheduled for the second quarter will release as planned, although dubbing might be affected.
All these factors have had a positive impact on its stock rate. Netflix closed the day flat at $433.83. The company’s shares are up nearly 32% since the beginning of the year.