Netflix nixes ads again as more subscribers sign on around the world

Streamer also names "The Witcher" as its biggest new series under new viewership metric

On the heels of strong subscriber growth and robust earnings, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings reiterated his stance that despite new competition from the likes of Disney, Comcast, Apple and AT&T, there is no reason for his company’s business model to change.

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“Google and Facebook and Amazon are tremendously powerful at online advertising,” Hastings said on the earnings video conference Tuesday night when asked again about possibly adding advertising to the Netflix model. “To keep up with those giants you have to spend very heavily and track locations and all kinds of other things that we’re not interested in doing.”

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Noting that some of the issues those digital advertising leaders have found themselves in the middle of with the government and watchdog groups, Hastings added: “We don’t have exposure to that ... we’re in a much more positive place.”

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Hastings also stressed they are mindful of user data.

“We’re not integrating everybody’s data, we’re not controversial that way,’” Hastings said. “We’ve got a much simpler business model.”

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Netflix added 8.76 million streaming subscribers globally for the final quarter of 2019. Three months ago, Netflix anticipated adding 7.6 million subscribers. All in, the streamer finished 2019 with 167.09 million subscribers worldwide. It ended in 2018 with 139 million.

The one dose of down news for Netflix was it missed its goal of 600,000 new users in the U.S., It only added 420,000 here.

Still, the markets shrugged off that news as the stock was up a little more than 2 percent in after-hours trading.

The company also noted that it is using a new viewership metric that counts a movie, series or documentary as "watched" after it has played for two minutes. To that end, it announced that its new series “The Witcher” is now its biggest series having been “watched” by 76 million accounts.

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