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Netflix Shows Strength Holding Its Pandemic Subscribers

Derek Walborn

Netflix not only made unprecedented gains to its base of subscribers during the pandemic, but data suggests that many of these new viewers may be hooked for the long term.

The information comes courtesy of a report from analytics firm SimilarWeb. Their findings show that in spite of Netflix’s pumped up membership numbers, visits to the streamer’s cancelation-confirmation page during the months of February and March were at their lowest levels in two years.

As the pandemic cut down on social activity, people around the world tuned into the platform’s wide array of must-see exclusive content. Thanks to the can’t-look-away oddball antics of Joe Exotic in “Tiger King,” 1950’s chess drama “The Queen’s Gambit,” and the gritty money laundering sliminess of Jason Bateman’s dark turn in “Ozark,” Netflix reaped the rewards with an influx of almost 40 million new subscribers in 2020. The gains allowed the company to clock in at over 200 million paid memberships worldwide. Stock in Netflix increased by 65% in 2020 as a result.

Analytics firm Antenna also reports that out of all the major streaming services, Netflix maintains the lowest cancellation rate.

The field of competition has thickened with the launch of other services like Disney+, discovery+, and HBO Max all offering their own unique brands of exclusive and original programming. HBO Max even struck a deal with Warner Bros. ensuring that all of the studio’s planned blockbusters slated for 2021 hit the streaming platform at the same time as they premiere in theaters. Included in the arrangement was recently released monster match up “Godzilla vs. Kong,” which handed HBO Max its largest streaming audience yet and undoubtedly played a critical role in earning it a spot in the 10 most downloaded apps for the first quarter of the year.

In spite of this, the data paints a rosy picture for Netflix. It not only remains king among streaming outlets but also looks to be supplying viewers with enough of the good stuff to maintain continued interest and viewership.

While the company doesn’t foresee its platform to continue on the same trajectory of growth through the rest of this year as COVID-19 vaccines and loosened restrictions have people feeling like something resembling normal life might be around the corner, it’s not one to sit on its laurels. As the domestic market reaches subscription saturation, the arms race for streamers to capture international markets is kicking into high gear.

Netflix has a head start. It’s already struck pay dirt with high quality, original shows like Germany’s “Dark,” Mexico’s “Narcos,” and India’s “Made in Heaven.” Further global expansion looks to be a key factor in the company’s continued growth as they continue to court and nurture relationships with creatives the world over.

Undoubtedly, Netflix’s flooding of cash into the development of further programming in Korea and Japan lend credence to the company’s forecast of growing by another 6 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2021. We’ll find out if those numbers are correct when the company reports earnings tomorrow.

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