Netflix continues to pull in plenty of users, despite intense competition from rival video streaming services.
The California-based company reported this week that it now has 203.6 million subscribers globally. This marks an increase of 8.5 million customers on the previous quarter, nearly four times what it was expecting, and an increase of 36 million on a year earlier — its highest-ever annual gain.
The boost in subscribers numbers seen in 2020 was driven to a large extent by the pandemic, which forced more people to seek home-based entertainment, but of course, with streaming competitors also chasing new subscribers, the content had to be strong.
Netflix said that among its original television content, season four of The Crown is its most successful season to date, and also encouraged many viewers to check out the earlier seasons. More than 100 million member households globally have now watched the historical drama, according to company data.
Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgerton, released in the final month of last year, is also proving “immensely popular” among subscribers, with Netflix promising “exciting news” about the show later this week.
Another winner is The Queen’s Gambit, watched by 62 million member households in its first 28 days, making it the biggest limited series in Netflix history, while also igniting sales of chess sets, according to the company.
As for Netflix original movies, Gorge Clooney’s The Midnight Sky was the biggest hit during the final three months of 2020, with an estimated 72 million households hitting the play button in its first four weeks alone.
Other popular original movies currently include Over the Moon (directed by Glen Keane), and We Can Be Heroes (directed by Robert Rodriguez).
Netflix was also keen to note the popularity of its content on Google searches during 2020, especially among TV shows:
Netflix said it’s “a great time to be a consumer of entertainment,” at the same time acknowledging recently launched rival services Disney+, AppleTV+, and HBO Max, among others.
In comments accompanying the release of its quarterly results, Netflix touched on the role its service is playing during the ongoing pandemic, saying: “2020 was an incredibly difficult year with extraordinary loss for so many families, new restrictions that none of us have ever had to live with before, and great uncertainty. We’re enormously grateful that in these uniquely challenging times we’ve been able to provide our members around the world with a source of escape, connection, and joy while continuing to build our business.”