Netflix Grows Quickly Outside North America
Last year, Netflix grew its customers quickly in the early part of the year as the pandemic made streaming media more appealing. In Q1 2020, the company added 15 million customers and 10 million in Q2. The breakneck growth pace slowed in Q3 when the company only reported two million new customers for the business. Fortunately, Netflix added 8.5 million customers in Q4, boosted by the release of new content such as "The Crown" and Christmas specials at the end of the year.
In a letter to shareholders, Netflix reports, "In its first 28 days, more member households chose to watch season four of The Crown than each of the prior seasons, helping to grow the number of member households that have chosen to watch this series to over 100m since its initial launch."
Netflix is also growing their business well beyond North America. Overall, 83% of the company's new customers in 2020 came from outside of North America. The company saw that 41% of Netflix's new customers in 2020 came from the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) regions. In North America, Netflix's business growth has slowed substantially over time. In Q4 2019, the company grew subscribers 17% on a year over year basis. By Q4 2020, the company saw its North American customer growth rate decrease to 2% on a year over year basis.
Netflix Experiments With Free Service
Netflix is starting to experiment with new ways to gain customers for their business. Last year, the company offered free access to its platform in India for a few days. "The primary learning [from StreamFest in India] was very evident that there's a lot of interest amongst consumers in India to try Netflix. We had millions of people that had access for 48 hours to the service," commented Greg Peters, COO and Chief Product Officer of Netflix, in a January 2021 call with investors.
Netflix Has 500 Titles in Production
The original content created for the company is now being produced around the world. Lupin, a French language heist series, became the number one most popular series in Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Poland. The business is committed to movies as well, with a plan to "release at least one new original film every week in 2021."
The Streaming Business Is Getting More Competitive
Despite this business success, it is clear that Netflix is starting to worry about its competition. In particular, Netflix pointed out that "Disney+ had a massive first year (87 million paid subscribers!)" in its Q4 letter to shareholders. The company also notes streaming competition is set to intensify in 2021 with the launch of new services such as Paramount+.
About the Author
Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book "Project Managers At Work" shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.