NEW DELHI : Building on its vision to provide entertainment across shores, American streaming service Netflix has notched up 100 million paid memberships outside home territory US. In a letter to shareholders published in conjunction with its 2019 Q4 earnings, the Reed Hastings owned video-on-demand platform said streaming entertainment is a global phenomenon and the company was working hard to build on its early progress.

Global paid net additions for Netflix totaled 8.8 million in Q4, on par with the 8.8 million in the prior year period and ahead of its forecast of 7.6 million, fueled by its broad slate of original programming and the worldwide adoption of streaming video, the company said in a statement. These include record paid net adds in each of the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), LATAM (Latin America) and APAC (Asia Pacific) regions.

Driving this growth are local stories originating in these countries. Netflix said local originals were the most popular titles in many countries including India, Korea, Japan, Turkey, Thailand, Sweden and the UK. Incidentally, their authenticity and nuance were responsible for their success in other countries too—members around the world have loved Spanish crime drama series Money Heist (or La casa de papel) with the show appearing in the top ten lists of more than 70 countries.

“Out of the 7.7 billion people on the planet, only 1.5 billion speak English to some degree and about 371 million are native speakers. And yet, historically, the majority of entertainment content in the world has been produced in Hollywood in the English language. It’s in that disconnect that we see a tremendous opportunity," Greg Peters, chief product officer at Netflix had said at an event in Los Angeles last year. “The majority of Netflix’s 139 million (then) members are from outside the US, a ratio that is going to get bigger in the years to come. And you see that shift in the kind of original programming that we are doing," he had added.

In the middle of 2019, Netflix launched a mobile-only plan in India at Rs. 199 a month, one that it says is giving the company fantastic results.

“We're in our early days still in India and the market potential there is enormous, It's a very unique market in the sense that it's very mobile heavy, and while figuring out the mobile-only plans, both economically and from a service standpoint, we found them to be kind of revenue neutral to positive, and a way to get broader distribution in India," Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, Netflix, said over an earnings call. In Q4, Netflix introduced mobile-only plans in Indonesia and Malaysia, inspired by the success in India and has seen similar results with incremental subscriber growth and improving retention.

Growth in Q4 was driven by the new seasons of shows like The Crown, Big Mouth and You. In its first four weeks over 21 million member households have chosen to watch season three of The Crown (up over 40% from season two over the same time period) and in total, over 73 million households worldwide have watched The Crown since the series launched. Its fantasy drama series The Witcher launched in December is turning out to be Netflix’s biggest season one TV series ever, with 76 million member households watching it within four weeks of release.

Now looking forward to the release of the returning seasons of Sex Education, Narcos: Mexico, Kingdom and the movie sequel To All The Boys: P.S I Still Love You, Netflix registered a 31% increase in Q4 revenue year-on-year, bringing full year 2019 revenue to over $20 billion, while FY19 operating income rose 62% to $2.6 billion.

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