You, your couch, an abundance of free time, and a seemingly bottomless pit of content. If you’ve lived through the limbo hellscape that 2020 has been so far, picturing any of that won’t be a very challenging feat. If you’re subscribed to a video streaming service, chances are, it’s Netflix. That’s not an opinion; the numbers speak for themselves. Netflix now has over 182 million subscribers worldwide, and this number is expected to see an increase.
Because of the popularity today, we’re going to uncover some of the most important Netflix statistics to understand what made this streaming service so big. If that sounds interesting, let’s hop into it.
Netflix Stats & Facts – Complete Information
Conceived in 1997 by American entrepreneurs Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings (current co-CEO), Netflix had humble beginnings. In 1998, the entrepreneurial duo launched their website offering DVD rental services through a traditional pay-per-rental model. Netflix had 925 titles available during its first year, a stark contract to the 13,300 titles available today.
A year later, Netflix switched to a monthly subscription concept. Around the same time, the company’s first algorithm, Cinematch, was introduced. Subscribers could now choose from a range of movies and TV shows directly targeted at them. This was made possible by the algorithm recommending popular content based on viewer ratings.
Turn of a Century:
Netflix continued growing strongly over the years, amassing 300,000 users in 2000, 600,000 in 2002, and 4.2 million in 2005. This steep increase is partly attributed to the widespread affordability of DVD players. Quickly recognizing the potential, several mega-corporations and amateur startups stepped into the field of online streaming services. In 2002, Redbox founded its own such website and committed an act not unknown in the competitive grounds of innovative entrepreneurship: poaching.
They offered Mitch Lowe, a founding executive at Netflix, a position in their own team, and he accepted. The first of many hiccups Netflix would face during its rise in the 2000s.
After walking away from a deal to buy Netflix for $50 million, Blockbuster launched ‘Blockbuster online,’ offering users unlimited DVD rentals at the flat fee of $19.99 per month. This would do little to stop Blockbuster from becoming a 101 lesson on how not to manage your dominating franchise during widely changing times.
Once a major competitor, butting heads directly with Netflix, Blockbuster failed to see a rising age where the general public no longer needed or wanted physical DVDs.
With 600,000 members in the US, Netflix went public in 2002, making its ‘initial price offering (IPO)’ of $15 per share. The company would sell $5.5 million shares of common stock, bringing in $82.5 million. In 2003, Netflix announced its 1 millionth subscriber.
Contemplating a shift online was common for the board at Netflix. For many years since its inception, the creators considered offering movies on the internet. But data speeds and bandwidth costs would not allow it. Finally, in the mid-2000s, improved connectivity and affordable internet services granted customers a chance to download movies online.
Not widely known is the idea of a ‘Netflix box’ that almost hit the markets in 2005, which is a piece of hardware device that would download movies overnight, making them ready to watch the next day.
Netflix acquired movie rights; the box was designed and ready to be launched. Still, after discovering YouTube and observing its success despite low-definition content, the ‘Netflix box’ was scrapped and binned. Instead, a streaming concept was adopted, a project that would see completion in 2007.
The Big Move
On the first of October 2006, Netflix offered a $1,000,000 prize to the first developer of a video recommendation algorithm that would beat and improve its current algorithm by 10%. This prize was awarded three years later to BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos. A team comprises seven mathematicians, engineers, and computer scientists from the United States, Austria, Canada, and Israel.
As DVD sales fell from 2006 to 2011, Netflix began to shift from its original core business model of DVDs and introduced video on demand via the Internet. During its online DVD rental days, the company’s gallery boasted over 100,000 different DVD titles. But it could offer no more than 1000 TV shows and movies for free streaming to its subscribers in 2007.
In retrospect, this ambitious leap could’ve cost the company a great deal. Yet, as popularity grew, and the general populace preferred fewer steps during their movie-watching process, the number of titles available for streaming increased. In June 2009, Netflix had acquired the rights to 12,000 movies and shows.
The largest contributing factor for customers to remain loyal to the streaming service since its earliest days is the algorithm. The revamped recommendation system, Cinematch, not only got viewers sticking around for newer content, but it also recommended underrated shows and movies.
This benefitted everyone involved. The customer could view content that would otherwise remain obscure, minor producing studios got the recognition they desired, and most importantly, Netflix continued growing.
Internationalization and Expansion
The decade was nearing its end, and Netflix was gearing up for the International market. Wanting to expand their streaming services outside of the US, Netflix began with Canada in 2010. Canadians could subscribe to the service for $7.99 per month. A price aptly described as being “the lowest, most aggressive price we’ve ever had anywhere in the world” by co-CEO Hastings.
However, the early content selection was meager for Canadian Netflix. In 2012, the United States offered 10,625 unique titles, whereas the number in Canada was merely 2,647. Still, regardless of a limited streaming selection, Netflix garnered one million subscribers (approximately 3% of Canada’s population) in less than a year.
In 2011, Netflix announced its plans to expand its streaming services in Latin America. This would be their largest expansion to date, and immediately after this announcement, Netflix stocks surged 8%. Breaking into the Latin American market meant Netflix now had access to 600 million people. Even so, the spread in Latin America was not as swift as the company had hoped.
Lack of high broadband and slow internet speed hindered rapid growth. Only 20% of the population had access to internet speed greater than 500 kB/s a second, whereas Netflix required 800 kB/s a second for smooth streaming. Nevertheless, the company continued its expansion to 43 countries and territories in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
By late 2011, Netflix had plans of producing and funding its own original content. An adaption of House of Cards was set to release in 2013.
The expansion to Europe kicked off in 2012, starting with the United Kingdom and Ireland. By late 2012, Netflix had expanded to Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway. The Netherlands was the only country that Netflix expanded to in 2013, as the company was slowing expansion to control subscription costs. At the end of 2013, Netflix had acquired approximately 32 million users in the United States and 10 million users in Europe and Canada.
By September of 2019, online streaming services were available in Austria, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany, and India. The reception was relatively lukewarm in Europe and India but downright hostile in France. The French believed the arrival of Netflix would ruin the country’s “cultural exception.” To counter this, Netflix decided to create a French series: ‘Marseille,’ a remake of the Netflix Original, ‘House of Cards.’
Expansion to Australia, New Zealand, and Japan occurred in early 2015. In late 2015 Netflix entered Italian, Portuguese and Spanish markets. The company continued expanding into Asia by launching in Pakistan, Singapore, and South Korea.
In January of 2016, Netflix announced it would be expanding into 130 new territories, including most of Africa. Today, the company’s online streaming services are available worldwide, with notable exceptions being Mainland China and regions subject to U.S. sanctions such as Syria, Crimea, and North Korea.
In 2013, with the critically acclaimed episodic series ‘House of Cards’, Netflix started producing tailored content exclusively for its streaming services. ‘Orange Is The New Black’ debuted in July of 2013 and holds the title of being Netflix’s most-watched original series. Due to widespread demand, the show was aired for 6 more years, ending in 2019 with its seventh and final season.
Partnering with Marvel Television, Netflix produced live-action superhero-focused series featuring multiple superheroes and converging plots. Netflix also signed various directors and creators for multi-year deals, resulting in period drama ‘Marco Polo’ and animated sitcom ‘BoJack Horseman’ and many more. The signed directors are expected to create multiple, widely praised series and shows over the years.
Other notable original titles include ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,’ ‘The Crown,’ ‘Stranger Things’ and as well as award-winning movies like ‘Roma,’ ‘The Irishman’ and ‘Marriage Story.’
Netflix spent $12 billion on buying, producing, and licensing original content in 2018. This figure went up to $15 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $17 billion in 2020. To put things into perspective, Disney has said it will spend $1 billion on original content for Disney Plus in 2020, and WarnerMedia will invest up to $2 billion in HBO Max this year.
Subscription Plans and Features:
Netflix offers three streaming plans to its subscribers: Basic, Standard, and Premium.
The Basic streaming plan has the most limited features, starting at $8.99 per month. Users are allowed to view content on one screen simultaneously, and resolution is limited to standard definition (SD).
The Standard streaming plan costs $12.99 per month and allows users to stream content on two screens at a time, in high definition (HD). With a Premium streaming plan, subscribers can view content on four screens at once. It costs $15.99 per month, and you can choose to stream content in HD or 4K Ultra HD if available.
The ‘Profiles’ feature introduced in 2013 permits subscribers to accommodate up to five user profiles. These profiles could either be associated with individuals or themes of their choosing. An example of one such theme is ‘Date night.’
Recent Growth and Plans for the Future:
Netflix acquired 15.8 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2020, a new record number, certainly driven by the coronavirus pandemic. This showcases the growth of 22 percent (year-over-year), registering quarterly revenue of $5.77 billion.
Netflix reported being $14.17 billion in debt at the end of March 2020. In its Q1 2020 shareholder letter, the company said, “our current plan is to continue to use debt to finance our investment needs.” Since nearly all of Netflix’s original production is currently on hold due to the pandemic, Netflix said its spending for 2020 would be far less than it previously expected.
However, Reed Hastings is confident 2021 will see more Netflix originals than 2020. Production is slower in the United States than in Europe and Asia. Furthermore, Netflix isn’t the only company encountering shooting delays; both Disney and WarnerMedia have faced a complete standstill with production.
Key Statistics of Netflix for 2020:
Here are some of the most important key statistics, facts, and numbers of the rising company:
1) Most used video streaming site in 2020 (Source: techjury)
In its Q1 2020 letter, Netflix revealed the company saw an influx of over 16 million users worldwide. This is likely due to the coronavirus pandemic locking people in their houses with nothing much to do.
2) Number of Netflix users in the US has skyrocketed (Source: Statista)
Europe, Africa, and the Middle East make up 30% (47 million) of the user-base, 18% (29 million) in Latin America, and the remaining 9% (14 million) are made of users in Asia-Pacific regions. However, the number of users in the United States and Canada has increased to well over 69.77 million in the first quarter of 2020.
3) 41% of Netflix users stream without paying due to account and password sharing (Source: Comparitech)
About 14% of users watch Netflix using the password sent to them by friends or family members outside their home. And around 27% stream using the paid subscription from someone in their household.
4) More middle-aged people are using Netflix (Source: techjury)
Netflix stats for 2020 display a higher number of adults taking an interest in the sites streaming services. As compared to a younger audience in 2015. The median age in 2020 appears to be 33-45 years.
5) 47% of the users in the United States prefer Netflix over any other streaming services (Source techjury)
Netflix’s competition has been trying to shorten this gap tirelessly for years. Currently, Amazon Prime has 14% of the population, Hulu of 13.6%, and Disney Plus of 13%.
6) Leading non-gaming Android app publishers worldwide in 2020 (Source: Statista)
A large number of Netflix’s user base prefers streaming on mobiles and tablets. With an OS friendly and easy to navigate with multiple devices, it’s no surprise subscribers choose to binge on personal phones.
7) Global gender distribution of employees in the Creative and Corporate segment of the company (Source: Statista)
In Q3 of 2019, 52% of the employees were men, and 48% were women. As of Q2 of 2020, Netflix has employed an equal number of women and men working for the company worldwide.
8) Global original content budget in 2020 (Source: Statista)
Netflix allocates around 80% of its content spending on original content production. The company reportedly had a $15.3 billion budget for original content production in 2019 and is estimated to spend another $17 billion in 2020.
9) Subscribers use around 288GB per month on streaming (Source: Comparitech)
In 2020, Netflix users averaged 3.2 hours of video streaming per day; this becomes 6 billion hours in a month. If an hour of streaming uses up 3GB of your data (assuming you’re streaming in HD and not 4K), the math shows users burn through 288GB of data per month on Netflix alone.
10) Netflix is one of the largest Amazon Web Services user (Source: Comparitech)
The company entirely migrated its content over to AWS in 2016, a feat that took 7 years to complete. Netflix is reportedly spending $9.6 million per month on AWS.
11) More than 66% of Netflix users share their password (Source: Comparitech)
On average, 2.5 people are using a single Netflix account, and two-thirds of all Netflix users share their accounts. In fact, the Chief Product officer at the company announced the service was looking for consumer-friendly ways to minimize password sharing.
12) APAC subscribes to Netflix (Source: Statistica)
The Asia-Pacific region remains the smallest market for Netflix, but the number of users are growing rapidly. Netflix’s subscriber base in APAC nearly doubled between early 2019 and Q3 of 2020.
13) Ireland has the largest Netflix library in 2020 (Source: Comparitech)
The United States had the biggest Netflix library in 2019, with 5,932 titles. But as of April 2020, Ireland boasts 5,500 titles. The United Kingdom has the second-largest library with approximately 5,527 titles, Canada in third place with 5,469 titles, and the US in fourth with 5,349 titles.
14) Nearly two-thirds of US households have a Netflix subscription (Source: Comparitech)
In 2010, only 16% of US households had a Netflix account. This number has now jumped to over 66%, accounting for two-thirds of the United States population.
15) Ethnicity distribution of Netflix employees in 2020 (Source: Statista)
24% of Netflix’s employees in the US are Asian, and 8% Hispanic, as revealed in employment data as of Q2 2020.
16) Original content hours on Netflix for 2019 (Source: Statista)
Netflix launched an estimated 2,769 hours of original content in TV shows, movies, and other productions in 2019. The company’s original content output has nearly doubled since 2016.
17) Oscar nomination and wins (Source: Business of Apps)
A whopping total of 24 movies were nominated for the Oscars in 2020. Two such nominations were able to win the award.
18) Netflix is behind 14.92% of global application traffic share (Source: techjury)
Netflix’s streaming services are available in over 190 countries. This percentage is even higher in the unites States, at 19.1%. Depending on the US network operator, Netflix’s total downstream traffic can reach 40% in peak traffic.
19) Netflix’s personalized recommendation engine is worth a billion (Source: Comparitech)
Netflix believes its algorithm for recommending tailored content to every user is roughly worth $1 billion per year.
20) 8 out of 10 users stream Netflix content on a TV screen (Source: Comparitech)
According to Leichtman Research Group, 85% of Netflix users stream the services on a TV. This indicates that many users own a Smart TV or are using an external device (Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, etc.) for streaming purposes.
21) Hundreds of award show nominations and wins (Source: Comparitech)
Netflix actively pursues awards when creating and marketing its original content. The company has received over 430 award show nominations and over 70 awards. 29 of those awards belong to the series ‘House of Cards’.
22) Netflix subscription by age in the United States (Source: Statista)
As of May 2020, people between the ages of 23 and 14 were most likely to have a current Netflix subscription, with 70% reporting they are subscribed to the service. People over 50 accounts for 39% of the total US user base.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are 195.5 million subscribers of Netflix by the end of the third quarter of 2020.
To know who is watching your Netflix, Go to the Netflix Home page and sign in. After signing in, click on the Account, scroll down and then click on Recent Device Streaming Activity, then click on See.
The United States is the most paying streaming subscriber, which is approximately 73.08 million subscribers.
Netflix offers three streaming plan to its subscribers:
- Basic: $8.99 per month
- Standard: $12.99 per month
- Premium: $15.99 per month
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Netflix’s un-ending stream of content is certainly its biggest advantage. While their original DVD-by-mail business model allowed them to compete against prominent names in the field like Blockbuster, the maturation and development with changing times truly lead to the company becoming a household name.
With the emergence of new streaming services by well-established, major conglomerates in the business, Netflix is expected to be kept on its toes. But this might be far from the truth. Netflix’s yearly revenue for its streaming services exceeds its competition’s in every manner.
The real threat to the company, however, is the programming costs. The budget for new content goes up annually, but Netflix is growing its top line rapidly enough to neutralize this concern. Another related apprehension is stock valuation in a stock market that is likely to be volatile in the coming years.
Netflix has a trailing 12 months price-to-earnings ratio (TTM P/E) of 88.17, resulting in a relatively high growth stock. But if the investors were to deem it overvalued, this could result in current stockholders pulling their investments and moving to safer places. This would greatly impact the stocks, which is the only thing investors care about; stock prices.
But the good news is no direct competitor operates in the same league as Netflix when it comes to price, quality, or service. So as long as the company continues innovating, creating, and most importantly, keeps its subscribers satisfied, Netflix will find a way to remain at the top.