In the fourth quarter, the company netted 8.3 million new worldwide subscribers; for the first time, the company exceeded 100 million memberships outside the US, with 106 million worldwide customers and a total of 167.1 million global subscribers. That is above the 7.6 million that the company was projecting. Sales were up 30.64% over the same period previous year. The service offers its content across multiple platforms with a rich feature set that includes offline viewing as well, at least, until you reach the Netflix download limit.
Netflix has had an outsized impact on the pay TV landscape, changing the way that people consume TV and film and forcing media and tech companies to shift their business models.
Netflix added 8.8 million subscribers in the fourth quarter; around 8.3 million additions came from global markets.
This underperformance in North America was attributed by the company to "recent price changes and to US competitive launches" from the likes of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus.
Yet, while the results were an improvement over the 96,000 Canadian subscribers who joined in the third quarter, the company's subscriber growth was down from the 218,000 new members who joined during the last three months a year prior.
Alongside the blockbuster launch of Disney+, which is said to have garnered more than 10 million users within 24 hours of its general availability, Netflix is also understood to have been hit hard by the launch of Apple TV+ a year ago.
"I never in a million years envisioned... that Netflix would even be considered a Hollywood studio, nonetheless, that it would win more Oscar nominations than anybody else", he said.
"The streaming service's massive content and marketing budget can only be justified if the company is adding more subscribers at a robust rate".
"Great content grows engagement among our members, which we believe drives word-of-mouth, improves retention and grows paid memberships".
Netflix's most popular plan costs $13 a month, far more than competitors from Disney, Apple and Quibi. But the company said this past year will mark the high-water mark in terms of its cash burn.
In the fourth quarter, Netflix added 42,000 new subscribers in the US (55,000 including Canada)-to just over 61 million in total-and acknowledged it is facing increased subscriber churn rates.
The stock dropped about 2.5 percent immediately in after-hours trading, likely due to a cautious forecast for the first quarter.
"We're growing in Q4 including in the U.S. even with some of those noise from competitive launches ... our per membership viewing grew not just globally but in the United States through Q4 and continues", Hastings said. Analysts had expected the company to earn 53 cents a share on revenue of $5.45 billion.
When it comes to staying competitive, Netflix is banking on its original content continuing to draw in new subscribers and maintain current subscribers. Netflix expects to see elevated churn levels in the USA from January through March.