Netflix now has more than 167 million subscribers worldwide. The company confirmed the results today as part of its latest quarterly results. The figure is higher than what analysts had previously expected, although the outlook for the current quarter does not look quite as good.
In total, Netflix says it added 8.8 million subscribers in the last quarter of 2019 with the clear majority of them being international subscribers. For example, the U.S. accounted for less than half a million. While the company stated this is in line with the number it attracted in the same quarter last year, Netflix anticipates it will only pick up around 7 million in the first quarter of 2020. Although just an estimate, and an early one considering it is still early in the current quarter, Netflix’s own estimation is significantly below the 9.6 million subscribers it brought in during the first quarter of 2020.
Regardless of whether Q1, 2020 is up or down on the number of subscribers, the subscription streaming service looks set to continue generating plenty of revenue. Even though it anticipates fewer new subscribers than the same quarter of 2019, thanks to the 2019 price rise coupled with the continued increase in subscriber numbers overall, Netflix anticipates it will bring in at least 1.2 billion more than it did in the first quarter of 2019.
A sign of increased competition?
There are many reasons why Netflix might see a year-over-year decline in subscriber numbers, although in its announcement today it does point to higher levels of subscriber churn in the U.S. This is not that surprising considering the level of competition now in effect, and particularly since the arrival of Disney+. While Netflix has had to deal with competition in the past, Disney+ arrived on the scene with a bang thanks to the 10 million subscribers that joined up in the first 24 hours alone. Disney+ has yet to confirm its quarter-end total, although the expectation is the service will be somewhere near the 25 million mark by the end of the first quarter.
Looking even further afield than the current quarter, Netflix is going to find it is competing on even more fonts than ever before. Not only is the high profile HBO Max service set to launch soon, but so is NBC’s new Peacock service. Both of which, along with Disney+, will be looking to chip away at the limited number of subscription spots that consumers have available.
Whether that comes at Netflix’s expense or not remains to be seen, but it does mean competition has never been higher than it will be for Netflix by the end of this year.