If you get the feeling that everyone you know has a Netflix subscription, there’s a good chance you’re right - Netflix just announced that it has 139 million paying subscribers around the world.
That number doesn’t take into consideration all the folks who use Netflix either through a shared account or are on a free trial account - which likely explains why that number isn’t even higher - but that means there are more people paying for Netflix than there are people living in Tokyo, Delhi, Shanghai, Sao Paulo and Mumbai, combined.
Netflix’s latest report to shareholders, which is where that data originates, claims the company has gained nearly 9 million of these paying subscribers in the last three months of 2018 - closing out the year with 29 million more paying subscribers than it started with.
If analysts’ predictions are right, that would put Netflix on par with the number of Amazon Prime subscribers worldwide (around 100 million at last count), and vastly ahead of the largest streaming music service, Spotify, which is sitting somewhere around 40 million paying subscribers.
Will Disney cause Netflix some dismay?
In an earnings call that accompanied the report, Netflix’s executive team claimed that the streaming service owns around 10% of the 1 billion hours Americans spend watching TV per day, a number that they say also includes live cable television and video games as well.
To that end, it’s not other streaming services like Disney+ or DC Universe that pose a threat to the company - it’s actually Fortnite and YouTube that the company fears the most: “We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO,” Netflix said in its earnings report. “When YouTube went down globally for a few minutes in October, our viewing and signups spiked for that time.”
So what’s Netflix doing with all this money from the new signups? It’s putting a good chunk of it back into its original programming. In 2019, Netflix will be launching new seasons of The Crown, 13 Reasons Why and the third season of Stranger Things, in addition to other undisclosed projects.
Does that mean we're in for more creative ventures like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch? You can bet your monthly subscription fee on it.