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2-min read

Netflix Continues to Build a Solid Base For Future Battles With Apple And Disney+

Despite recent subscription price hike, the new user signup hasn’t slowed down.

Vishal Mathur | @vishalmathur85

Updated:April 17, 2019, 11:17 AM IST
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Netflix Continues to Build a Solid Base For Future Battles With Apple And Disney+
Despite recent subscription price hike, the new user signup hasn’t slowed down.
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This has been a good start of the year for Netflix. The latest quarterly numbers from the streaming service report that the streaming service added 9.6 million users in the first three months of this year, which is more than the 8.9 million estimates. This means that Netflix now has 148 million subscribers globally. Revenue also higher than $4.5 billion, a 22 percent increase.

At the same time last year, Netflix had 125 million subscribers globally. Among the new additions, Netflix confirms that 1.74 million new users signed up in the US while 7.86 million new users started using Netflix globally. This is, according to Netflix, a quarterly acquisitions record for the company. While Netflix’s paid subscriptions increased 26 percent year-on-year, the average revenue per user, also known as ARPU, decreased by 2 percent. This is also after the recent price hike announced by the streaming service in some countries, including the US, Brazil, Mexico and parts of Europe—this became applicable in January this year.

Netflix is betting big on the content that it has to offer, later this year. “We’re looking forward to a strong slate of global content in the second half of the year, including new seasons of some of our biggest series, Stranger Things (July 4th), 13 Reasons Why, Orange is the New Black, The Crown and La Casa de Papel (a ka Money Heist) as well as big films like Michael Bay’s Six Underground and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, and expect another year of record annual paid net adds in 2019,” said Netflix in the earnings call.

The strongest ever quarter and the content line-up for the rest of the year will be crucial for Netflix. It will have to not only contend from the existing rivals such as Amazon Video, Hulu, HBO Now and Showtime to name a few, but also the new competition from Apple’s upcoming TV+ streaming service as well as Disney’s Disney+ streaming service. Disney+ rolls out in November and will offer subscriptions at $6.99 per month, significantly undercutting Netflix pricing. Apple still hasn’t announced the exact date or pricing for the Apple TV+ service. But Netflix remains bullish about its chances nevertheless. “We don’t anticipate that these new entrants will materially affect our growth because the transition from linear to on demand entertainment is so massive and because of the differing nature of our content offerings,” the company says.

Netflix will also begin testing a new feature in the UK, called “Weekly Top 10”. These will be lists curating content based on what everyone else is watching. This will perhaps be an additional content discovery tool for users, but we don’t know if and when the final rollout will happen in the UK, and indeed the rest of the world.

In India, Netflix prices start at Rs 500 per month for the basic plan with standard definition (SD) streaming, and there are two more plans priced at Rs 650 peer month (HD streaming on two devices) and Rs 850 per month (Ultra HD streaming on four devices). Here, Netflix has to contend with Amazon Video, Hotstar, Sony Liv, Voot and Zee5 to name a few. Amazon Video is a part of the larger prime subscription priced at Rs 999 per year. Hotstar offers a VIP subscription plan which costs Rs 365 per year and a Hotstar Premium subscription plan priced at Rs 199 per month or Rs 999 per year. Sony Liv charges Rs 499 per year for the premium pack, while Zee5 will cost Rs 999 per year for the All Access Pack.

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