Global streaming giant Netflix has recorded its highest quarterly paid net adds in its 20-year history, with 9.6 million new subscribers joining the service in Q1 amid major announcements of competing SVOD services, namely from Apple and Disney.
Despite a growing SVOD marketplace, Netflix reported its subscription growth had expanded 16% year over year, bringing in 1.7 million new users in the U.S. and an additional 7.86 million international customers throughout the first quarter of 2019. The figure beat the company’s own estimates of 8.9 million net additional paid subscribers, and now pushes Netflix to 148.9 million paying customers overall.
The company projects its total paid net adds in Q2 2019 will increase by five million – down 8% year over year – with 300,000 adds domestically and 4.7 million for the international segment. The projection would place the SVOD at 14.6 million paid net adds for the first half of 2019, up a total of 7% year over year.
Netflix also reported its revenue had surpassed US4.5 billion in Q1 — up almost $1 billion cover Q1 last year ($3.7 billion) — and posted earnings of 76 cents per share, beating out the 64 cents per share for the prior year period. The company’s domestic mail-order DVD rental service continued to lose subscribers at 2.5 million, compared to last year’s 3.1 million, bringing in $80.6 million in revenue.
While Netflix boasted high viewership of its scripted originals like The Umbrella Academy, Triple Frontier and The Highwaymen, the streamer reported big wins on the non-fiction side too, including 20 million member households tuning into FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, about the ill-fated 2017 Fyre Festival, and a Mexican version of comedy culinary format Nailed It!, which earned more first-month watchers than the dubbed American version.
The stand-out title, though, was natural history event series Our Planet, which Netflix says is on track to be one of the company’s most successful global documentary series launches to date, with over 25 million member households projected to watch in the first month.
Netflix is currently rolling out a series of price increases for the American, Brazilian, Mexican and European marketplaces, with its Standard plan climbing an extra $2 per month to $12.99. The price increases are expected to be introduced throughout quarter two.
A press release from Netflix acknowledged the increasingly crowded SVOD space, and the Apple and Disney announcements specifically, while maintaining that the streaming space continues to expand and offer opportunities for all.
“We don’t anticipate that these new entrants will materially affect our growth because the transition from linear to on demand entertainment is so massive and because of the differing nature of our content offerings,” the company said. “We believe we’ll all continue to grow as we each invest more in content and improve our service and as consumers continue to migrate away from linear viewing (similar to how U.S. cable networks collectively grew for years as viewing shifted from broadcast networks during the 1980s and 1990s).”
With files from Fred Blichert