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Netflix adds record 10 million subscribers

Staff Writer

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Netflix has added a record 10.1 million subscribers in the three months from April to June 2020, a record number for this time of the year.

The three months following the coronavirus lockdown saw users around the world turning to their TVs and mobile devices for streaming entertaining,. In Q2 of 2020, Netflix forecast 7.5 million net additions of paid customers, but outstripped that prediction by some distance – and topped last year’s 2.7 million in the same quarter by an even greater amount. That means that, in the first half of 2020, Netflix has added 26 million paid memberships, which is almost the same number (28 million) that it added in the whole of 2019.

The result has cemented Netflix’s presence as a core entertainment provider for households worldwide, but it also highlights the challenges facing the streaming service – not only does it have rising competition from other VOD providers, such as Disney+ and (in the US) HBO Max and Peacock, it also expects to see its growth slow down, as the surge in sign-ups during the first half of 2020 brought forward some of the subscriptions that would have taken place later in the year.

The other challenge is on the production side of things, as the film and TV industry slowly navigates its way to restarting filming on projects in a gradually re-opening world. With different safety precautions and pandemic situations in every country, region and town, co-ordinating the effort to restart productions safely is a mammoth task. It has found the most success in Asia Pacific, with Season 2 of Japanese original The Naked Director now filming, while production is slowly resuming in European countries such as Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Italy and the UK.

But in the meantime, Netflix’s long lead time on its original content means that it still has a head-start on other streamers, such as Disney+, and will only see the knock-on effect in the first of 2021, when some releases will be delayed. The company’s strong global position also means that it has the clout and funds to pick up films and TV series to plug the gaps. That includes The Trial of the Chicago 7 from Aaron Sorkin and The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run, as well as almost completed seasons of Cobra Kai (Season 3) and Emily in Paris, a romantic comedy starring Lily Collins.

In the meantime, it is reporting strong success with its key original titles, with Mind Kaling’s Never Have I Ever reaching 40 million households in its first four weeks, Space Force starring Steve Carell hitting the same number, and unscripted shows Too Hot to Handle and Floor is Lava chosen to be watched by 51 million and a projected 37 million households in their first months respectively. As for films, 27 million households chose to watch Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods in its first four weeks, while Extraction (starring Chris Hemsworth) and The Wrong Missy were chosen by 99 million and 59 million households respectively.

Netflix also reported increased viewing for titles such as 13th, American Son and Dear White People, driven by the Black Lives Matter movement and people seeking out stories that speak to racial injustice.

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