Tiger King and coronavirus lockdown boost Netflix growth
Staff Reporter | On 23, Apr 2020
Netflix’s growth is booming during the coronavirus lockdown, as more people look for entertainment to stream online.
Even though the lockdown didn’t start until mid-March, the streaming giant added 15.8 million subscribers in the first three months of 2020 – more than double its expected 7.2 million. That takes the company to 182 million subscribers worldwide.
Netflix announced the figures this week in its latest letter to shareholders, but was nonetheless pragmatic about the costs and benefits of the situation: with productions on hiatus due to the lockdowns now in place around most of the world, it has been fortunate enough to complete a large number of titles ready for release as planned, but, even with a delay to some future releases, it is already bracing for a dip in growth once the lockdown is lifted.
“Some of the lockdown growth will turn out to be pull-forward from the multi-year organic growth trend,” predicts CEO Reed Hastings. “Intuitively,” he adds, “the person who didn’t join Netflix during the entire confinement is not likely to join soon after the confinement.”
Nonetheless, it is seeing its viewing figures soar, with a projected 29 million member households to have chosen to watch Season 3 of Ozark in its first four weeks on release, while docuseries Tiger King is projected to see 64 million member households choose to watch it during the same window. Its breakthrough unscripted dating show Love is Blind is projected to reach 30m, while original film Spenser Confidential is leading the pack with a projected 85m – just ahead of Money Heist Season 4 (65 million).
The company is far from complacent about the wider situation, though, saying that it has “never seen a future more uncertain or unsettling”.
“The coronavirus has reached every corner of the world and, in the absence of a widespread treatment or vaccine, no one knows how or when this terrible crisis will end,” notes the letter. “What’s clear is the escalating human cost in terms of lost lives and lost jobs, with tens of millions of people now out of work.”
In March, the streaming giant created a $100 million fund to help with hardship in the industry, starting with the hardest hit workers on its own productions. It will have paid these crews for about seven weeks, with the goal of providing a bridge until government safety nets kick in. In addition, it is donating $30 million to third parties and non profits, providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast across the broader TV and film industry in countries where it has a large production base.