business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Netflix yesterday released subscriber numbers that seem to illustrate that - even as it faces ever-tougher competition from the likes of Amazon and Hulu, and expectations that Apple will get even more aggressive in the production of original programming - it continues to grow its streaming business, which was launched just 10 years ago.

According to the New York Times:

"Netflix added a record 7.05 million streaming members in the three months that ended Dec. 31, up from the 5.59 million net additions in the same period of 2015. That growth, in domestic and international markets, beat its forecast of 5.2 million new members for the quarter. Netflix now has a total of 93.8 million members."

"Fueling the increase in subscribers was a rapid rise in Netflix memberships abroad. The company said it is learning 'how best to match content with audiences tastes around the world.' It added 5.1 million international members in the quarter, and now has 44.4 million members outside the United States, more than than 47 percent of its total membership."

"Netflix cited its original series 'Marvel’s Luke Cage' and 'The Crown' as worldwide hits. It said it planned to invest more than $6 billion in content this year, up from $5 billion in 2016."

"Profits are rising steadily. Net income increased 56 percent to $67 million in the quarter from the same period in 2015. The company projected that profits would reach $165 million in the current quarter, up from $28 million in the period a year ago."

But the way in which this disruptive business model has had an impact on the culture and consumer behavior was perhaps best summed up by Jerry Seinfeld, who this week announced that he was moving his "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee" series from the Crackle streaming service to Netflix, and also will do a couple of stand-up specials for the service.

"When I first started thinking about ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,’ the entire Netflix business model consisted of mailing out DVDs in envelopes,” he said, adding that it now is "the most amazing technology platform to deliver (comedy) in a way that has never existed before. I am really quite charged up to be moving there.”

And 10 years ago, this technology hardly was a blip on the radar.

It is an Eye-Opener.
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