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Netflix CEO Says Subscribers Have Been Watching More International Shows Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Stephanie Sengwe

The coronavirus-induced lockdowns have forced people to indulge in more content than ever, and according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, the stay-at-home orders have exposed people to content they would otherwise not have gravitated toward. In an an audio essay for the BBC, Hastings revealed that the streaming giant’s subscribers have taken to international shows during the pandemic.

“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen our members watching more content from other countries or cultures. In part, that’s because people have had more time to explore our service,” he stated. “In part, it’s because we’re discovering that the more global we become, the more important it is that we work with local, diverse creators to tell local, authentic stories that speak to us all.”

Hastings cited “La Casa De Papel” (Money Heist), which has gotten the attention of 65 million viewers, as well as Germany’s “Unorthodox” and Italy’s “Summertime,” as some of the most popular international shows, according to Deadline.

In April, Netflix announced they reached 182.86 million global subscribers in their Q1 2020 report. Netflix added 15.77 million subscribers since their Q4 2019 earnings report back in January when they reported that they reached 167.09 million global subscribers with 61 million in the U.S.

In May, a study by market research company, The NPD Group, revealed the streaming giant’s average weekly usage rose 72 percent ever since the stay-at-home mandates went into effect.

In states such as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, where quarantine rules are more strict, the study found that people spent significantly more time on Netflix than other parts of the country. According to The NDP Group, time spent on Netflix spiked to 37 percent in the tri-state area, scoring 10 percent higher than the rest of the country.