Despite COVID-19, Netflix had a good 2020. At the end of last year, the company passed a milestone by reaching over 200 million paid subscribers.
The pandemic and the ensuing stay-at-home orders helped Netflix add a record 37 million new subscribers during the year, a 31% annual increase from 2019.
That growth also occurred despite a US price hike the company announced last October, which increased the standard plan to $13.99 a month and the premium tier to $17.99 a month. During 2020’s fourth quarter, Netflix still added 8.5 million paid subscribers.
“Since the start of 2018, our paid memberships have risen from 111m to 204m and our average revenue per membership has grown from $9.88 to $11.02,” the company said in an an earnings report on Tuesday.
That said, in the US and Canada, Netflix only added 860,000 new subscribers in Q4 for a total of 74 million. Much of the growth happened in foreign markets. In 2020, the Europe, Middle East, and Africa region accounted for 41% of the company’s new paid subscribers.
The big question is whether Netflix will be able to hold onto its subscribers. In 2021, the company will face even stiffer competition from the likes of Disney , HBO Now, Peacock, and the soon-to-be-rebranded Paramount , which all promise to deliver new TV shows and movies.
However, Netflix says it’s ready to unleash a flood of new content to its own service. “With over 500 titles currently in post production or preparing to launch on our service and plans to release at least one new original film every week in 2021 with extraordinary talent, we’re confident we’ll continue to have a great content offering for our members,” Netflix added.
One company also estimates Netflix could spend as much as $19 billion on content this year.