Netflix added 10.1 million subscribers this spring as people around the world stayed home

Netflix now has more than 190 million subscribers worldwide.

Netflix
–Matt Rourke/AP, File

Netflix said Thursday it gained 10.1 million subscribers worldwide in its most recent quarter, suggesting that the lockdowns resulting from the pandemic continue to be good for the streaming business.

The company added 2.9 million subscribers in the U.S. and 7.2 million overseas for the period between April and June, when much of the U.S. – and the world – saw public life come to a halt amid the spread of COVID-19.

While the tally is smaller than the nearly 16 million subscribers Netflix added during the quarter that ended in March, it still reflects an at-home entertainment company that continues to do brisk business while firms that rely on old-fashioned public gathering struggle.

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“We live in uncertain times with restrictions on what we can do socially and many people are turning to entertainment for relaxation, connection, comfort and stimulation,” the company said in its quarterly investment letter.

The figure in the U.S. is particularly notable, building on the 2.3 million Netflix added during the first quarter as the pandemic began. Prior to that quarter, growth in the U.S. had often shrunk to 1 million subscriber additions or fewer in many quarters.

The news is also striking because the company in recent years has not had a strong second quarter. In 2018, Netflix missed analyst projections both domestically and overseas for the first time in more than a year during the second quarter, and during the period last year the company saw its first-ever drop in U.S. subscribers.

Netflix now has more than 190 million subscribers worldwide. Its biggest competitor in the U.S., Disney Plus, has fewer than a third of that.

But the company has to fend off increased competition. Disney Plus has grown faster than many analysts predicted. May saw the start of HBO Max. And this week brought the launch of Peacock’s, NBC Universal’s own service that is available as both a paid and ad-free versions.

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Netflix is also still stymied by production shutdowns in many parts of the world, which slows the pipeline of new content that draws people to the service.

It said in its letter that it’s “slowly resuming productions in many parts of the world” and that it is “furthest along in Asia Pacific.”

Netflix on Thursday also announced that Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer and a fixture in Hollywood circles, has been promoted to co-chief executive with Reed Hastings.


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