Netflix adds 9.6m subscribers in three months despite increasing competition

Ann Santiago
April 18, 2019

On Jan. 18 following its last quarterly results, Netflix dropped 4% over concerns about slowing growth, and investors are now focused on how Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings plans to fend off a major challenge from Walt Disney, with its upcoming Disney+ streaming service.

"What's making investors nervous is that there are signs of a slowdown in the second-quarter subscriber growth", said Haris Anwar, senior analyst at

Disney said it would include all 30 seasons of "The Simpsons", family-friendly titles like "The Sound of Music,"and "Malcolm in the Middle" and its forthcoming "space opera " series "The Mandalorian".

During Q1 Netflix added 7.86 million paid subscribers globally, while Refinitiv analyst at IBES data estimate 7.14 million paid subscribers globally.

With almost 150 million paid members, Netflix is obviously doing something right and it is all about content, including movies like Bird Box, Triple Frontier and The Highwayman, documentaries including FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened and Our Planet, and popular series like Stranger Things, 13 Reasons Why, Orange is the New Black, The Crown and La Casa de Papel.

Now, it should be noted that while Disney showed plenty of footage to the people in the room at its big Disney+ reveal, most of those trailers weren't streamed to the ordinary folks watching via webcast.

"We believe we'll all continue to grow as we each invest more in content and improve our service and as consumers continue to migrate away from linear viewing", the company said. And once those Disney movies' tenure on Netflix ends, they'll jump to the Netflix competitor too. The company's acquisition of Fox's assets has given it a majority stake in online streaming service Hulu, which is jointly controlled by Disney, AT&T's (T) WarnerMedia, and Comcast's (CMCSA) NBCUniversal. Chief among those brands is Disney, which is gearing up to launch its own streaming platform, Disney+, later this year at a lower subscription price than what Netflix charges.

Earnings, meanwhile, came in at 76 cents per share, a bump over analyst expectations of 58 cents per share.

Netflix said it expects another 5m people worldwide to sign up to its film and TV streaming service in the second quarter, compared with 5.45m it added in the same period of previous year.

Netflix said it is looking forward to a "strong slate of global content" in the second half of the year including the third series of The Crown, this time starring Oscar-winner Olivia Coleman as Queen Elizabeth II and Stranger Things.

Total revenue rose to US$4.52-billion from US$3.7-billion. Last week, Disney priced its service at $7 per month, just over half the $13 price for Netflix's most US popular plan. According to Netflix earnings per share will be $0.55 vs the $0.99 expected by analysts.

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