Netflix subscribers reach 200m as it faces more competition

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International streaming service Netflix plans an aggressive content creation drive and is set to release at least one new original film every week in 2021.

This comes as the company breached the 200 million mark in global subscribers.

Releasing its 2020 fourth quarter (Q4) results, Netflix says it has over 500 titles currently in postproduction or preparing to launch on its service this year.

Netflix’s high movie churn rate is likely to present a lucrative global opportunity for African filmmakers.

Over the past year, there has been a clear appetite for fresh African content on global streaming platforms. Netflix recently enjoyed success with its first three South African original series: Queen Sono, Blood & Water and Kings of Joburg.

Last year, Netflix partnered with local African filmmaker incubator Realness Institute to launch an Episodic Content Development Lab for African writers.

During the period under review, Netflix says it weathered the COVID-19 pandemic, crossing the 200 million paid memberships mark, adding a record 37 million paid memberships, achieving $25 billion in annual revenue and growing operating profit 76% to $4.6 billion.

“2020 was an incredibly difficult year with extraordinary loss for so many families, new restrictions that none of us have ever had to live with before and great uncertainty. We’re enormously grateful that in these uniquely challenging times, we’ve been able to provide our members around the world with a source of escape, connection and joy while continuing to build our business,” says Netflix.

In Q4, the Europe, Middle East and Africa region accounted for 41% of full-year paid net Netflix subscriber additions.

While lamenting the growing competition in streaming services, Netflix says it’s a great time for consumers of entertainment as there are more options, ranging from linear TV and video gaming, to user-generated content on YouTube and TikTok.

“We continue to work hard to grow our small share of screen time against these major competitors. Discovery recently launched its streaming service. Disney+ is expanding in new countries and with more content.

“Viacom CBS will be unveiling its plans for Paramount+ in 2021. Combined with the launch of AppleTV+, Warner Media’s HBO Max, and NBC Universal’s Peacock streaming services, this signifies these companies all recognise the future is streaming entertainment, a vision we have been working towards since inception,” says Netflix.

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