Other showbiz giants are suffering because of COVID-19, but here’s one that’s doing a wee bit better (to see the absolute least).
by Natalie Jarvey
People watching more entertainment programming while sheltering at home propelled Netflix to a strong first three months of 2020, the company announced Tuesday
The streaming giant added 15.8 million subscribers during the first quarter of the year, a period of record growth that has rocketed its global base to nearly 183 million.
Netflix had expected to add just 7 million subs during the period, but the company forecast that growth before the full effects of the pandemic had been felt globally.
In spite of the strong period, CEO Reed Hastings hit a somber note in his letter to shareholders. “In our 20+ year history, we have never seen a future more uncertain or unsettling,” he wrote. “The coronavirus has reached every corner of the world, and, in the absence of a widespread treatment or vaccine, no one knows how or when this terrible crisis will end. What’s clear is the escalating human cost in terms of lost lives and lost jobs, with tens of millions of people now out of work.”
He continued by explaining that Netflix is seeing “temporarily higher viewing and increased membership growth,” but “we expected viewing to decline and membership growth to decelerate as home confinement ends, which we hope is soon.” The company is forecasting that it will add 7.5 million subs during the second quarter, which spans the April-to-June period during which people largely have been sheltering at home. But the company noted that the figure is “mostly guesswork” given the uncertainty around how long the shutdown will last.
The strength of the U.S. dollar during the global pandemic hurt the company’s revenue growth during the period despite its higher-than-expected subscriber growth. Internationally, where Netflix added nearly 13.5 million subs driven by strong growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, was less than forecast due to the dollar’s sharp rise.
During the shutdown, the breakout Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness has been popular with viewers. Netflix projects that 64 million members will “choose to watch” the show during its first four weeks of availability….