Netflix added more subscribers in the first three quarters of 2020 than it did in all of 2019.
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In a shareholders' statement the streaming giant said that in the first nine months of this year, it added 28.1 million paid subscriptions. In all of 2019, the service added 27.8 million.
The Netflix boom was no doubt aided by the coronavirus pandemic and millions of people forced to stay at home. While global subscribers reached a monstrous 195.15 as of September 30, the company had projected it would add 2.5 million new subscribers for the third quarter. The increase to 2.2 million was not only short of the targets but represented the smallest increase of any quarter in years.
Shares were set to drop on Wednesday morning.
Total reported revenue for the quarter is $6.4B and exceeded the company’s internal guidance by $100 million. Still, investors were not impressed and shares of the company in after-hours trading were down more than 5%.
"Retention remains healthy and engagement per member household was up solidly year over year in [quarter three of 2020]," said the statement.
Netflix projects 6 million new subscribers for the final quarter of the year but the company tried to downplay next quarter gains citing "slower growth" versus the start of the year.
The streamer also said that it plans to increase the number of original productions "year over year in each quarter of 2021."
While the coronavirus pandemic threw the entire entertainment into disarray for several months, the letter explained that Netflix is "making good and careful progress returning to production" on their projects including high-profile titles like "Stranger Things."
Over the past quarter, Netflix cited several successful releases such as "Umbrella Academy," which was seen in 43 million households in its first 28 days on the service, while "Lucifer" hit 38 million in the same time span.
Ryan Murphy's "Ratched" was streamed by a whopping 48 million households in just four weeks.
The third quarter also saw the release of the service's top two "most-watched documentary feature films ever" -- "American Murder: The Family Next Door" (projected to stream in 52 million households in its first 28 days) and "The Social Dilemma," which saw 38 million streams in 28 days.
Original films "The Old Guard" notched 78 million Netflix households in four weeks while the much-anticipated sequel, "The Kissing Booth 2" scored 66 million. "Project Power" (with 75 million) also proved successful.
The letter also took note of Netflix's second run of "Schitt’s Creek" the comedy that was little seen on the Pop cable network and enjoyed increased exposure on Netflix. The millions of homes Netflix brought may have very well helped in the comedy's Emmy sweep in September.
The fourth quarter of the year will welcome anticipated titles such as "Over The Moon" and the fourth season of "The Crown," not to mention a massive awards slate.
Upcoming films include "The Midnight Sky," "Hillbilly Elegy," "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," "The Christmas Chronicles 2," "Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey," "Mank" and "The Prom."