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Coronavirus pandemic leads to massive spike in new Netflix subscribers

Some Tigers were involved in a Money Heist in the Ozarks.

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Image: KnowTechie

Netflix released its first-quarter earnings report yesterday, and there is some boring stuff in there about earnings per share being a bit lower than anticipated and a slight sales beat that was 27.63% higher year-over-year. But that’s not the big takeaway. The big takeaway is tiger in your backyard sized: Netflix added 15.77 million net subscribers in quarter one to bring its total to 182.86 subscriptions, up 22.8% year-over-year.

While the novel coronavirus pandemic has caused Hollywood to basically shut down and forced us all into our homes for an extended period of time, Netflix has thrived with original programming that was already waiting to be released (Ozark, Money Heist, Tiger King). I highly recommend the French film Earth and Blood and the insanely mystical and fulfilling The Midnight Gospel from Pendleton Ward and Duncan Trussell.

Netflix wasn’t being too bullish in its original estimated for new subscribers, budgeting for seven million new subscribers in quarter one. Then the pandemic hit, we all started working at home and even after many of us lost our jobs and started cutting streaming services, Netflix remained, but that deals with total subscribers. 15.77 million new subscribers is a totally different beast. Like a Liger.

Those 15.77 million new subscribers come from all over the world

2.3mm are U.S. and Canadian subscribers; 6.9mm from Europe, the Middle East and Africa; 2.9mm from Latin America and 3.6mm from the Asia-Pacific region. Most of these were added in the latter half of the first quarter, really the final third as that’s when stay-at-home orders went into full effect around the world. People were sent home and immediately signed up for Netflix. Because that’s where the depth of content is. That’s where 20 billion seasons of Supernatural are.

It’s not likely we’ll see this kind of growth with the other streaming platforms as the depth of content (I’m using that phrase twice, deal) isn’t the same. Disney+ might see a small surge, but that’s just a fraction of Disney’s overall earnings. Netflix is one thing and that thing is something we all need right now: 15 seasons of NCIS to play in the background while we juggle working at home (applying for jobs) and keeping the kids satiated.

There are also new streaming services launching (or just launched) that may or may not affect Netflix going forward (spoiler: they won’t). NBC’s Peacock service is starting to roll out, HBO Max is launching next month and not enough people are engaging with Quibi. Netflix is clearly the king of the jungle when it comes to streaming entertainment and 15.77 million new net subscribers prove it.

What do you think? Surprised that Netflix is gaining new subscribers right now? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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A tech writer on the internet for over 15 years for outlets such as Forbes, Wired, TNW, and others, Curtis is exhausted, burnt out and happy to just write buying guides and the occasional review for KnowTechie, the best tech blog your mom never told you about. Ephemeral existence for ephemeral times. Please send pitches and grainy pictures of the inside of your elbow to kevin@knowtechie.com

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