Netflix reached more than 200 million subscribers after consumers who stayed home during the pandemic helped achieve a record year of growth in 2020.
The U.S. company, which introduced streaming in 2007, said it added 8.5 million new paying customers in the last quarter, which was better than expected to reach a total of 203.7 million.
For the whole year Netflix added 37 million subscribers, of which 15.8 million in first quarter alone, while revenue rose 24% to $ 25 billion and profit rose 48% to $ 2.76 billion.
This was helped by the success of new dramas such as The Queen’s Gambit and Bridgerton, as well as the latest series Crown.
Netflix said that in an “incredibly difficult year,” it was able to provide its members around the world with a source of escape, connectivity, and joy while continuing to build our business.
Most of the growth – 83% of new customers – came from outside its largest market in the US and Canada. Another six million are expected to apply in the first quarter.
The stock rose nearly 13% in hour-on-year trading as the company anticipated no longer having to borrow billions of dollars to fund its big-budget movies and TV series, and said it would consider returning cash to shareholders.
Netflix faces stiff competition Disney – which Disney + service managed to register 87 million subscribers in less than a year.
Meanwhile, Hollywood studio Warner Bros. withdrew from the Hollywood Convention when it announced it would send all 2021 movies along with cinemas directly to HBO Max.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings described Disney’s show as “extremely impressive” and added that its success “triggers us to increase membership and increase the content budget”.