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  • Number of Netflix Subscribers in 2020: Growth, Revenue and Usage

Number of Netflix Subscribers in 2020: Growth, Revenue and Usage

Category: B2B News
How many subscribers did Netflix have in 2019?
Netflix had 163.5 million subscribers worldwide as of the third quarter of 2019. 158 million are paid subscriptions while over 5.5 million are free trial customers. The United States makes up 38% of the worldwide paid subscription numbers with 60.62 million but the growth of the company is powered by its international subscribers.

Source: Statista

What is the number of Netflix’s subscribers in 2019?

Data from Netflix’s 2019 third quarter Securities and Exchange Commission filing[1] shows over 158 million paying subscribers worldwide. The numbers are likely to increase further as fourth-quarter numbers have yet to come in. There were also over 5.5 million free trial customers who may potentially migrate to paid subscriptions after their free trial ends.

Netflix is over two decades old. A pivot from their original DVD rental service launched a trailblazing Over-the-Top (OTT) streaming business that is constantly copied but has, so far, not been matched.

Netflix’s US subscriber base is 60.62 million and has seen a tapering off with competition from other players crowding the streaming subscription market. US subscribers have multiple accounts with other streaming services that eat into Netflix’s potential revenue earnings. Aggressive worldwide expansion that started in 2010 has grown Netflix’s subscribers and has become the focus of its subscriber growth.

This article explores Netflix’s number of subscribers, the OTT provider’s place as the leading streaming service worldwide, and will delve into the categories below:

Netflix Subscribers’ User Profile

Lab42, a Chicago-based market research firm, classified streaming video subscribers based on their OTT service preference. Netflix subscribers are the “Mainstreamers” with the average age in the range of Gen-Xers (35-54 years old), live in suburban and urban areas, and have an annual income of less than $100,000.

Of the streaming video subscribers polled, 84% show a preference for Netflix. 46% use Amazon Prime and are classified as “Hip Seniors” with an age range of 55+, are highly educated, and have a diverse range of interests. Last are the “Bohemians” with a Millenial age skew, likely single, uneducated, earning entry-level pay, and are Hulu subscribers accounting 28%.

Netflix Subscribers: Geographic and Demographic Breakdown

Netflix is available in 190 countries. The international expansion started in 2010 and was slow to pick up at the beginning but now includes countries such as Afghanistan, East Timor, and Greenland.

Source: Netflix

To date, the US has the highest subscriber penetration rate at 64.5%. The rest of the countries in the top ten with the highest Netflix penetration are in the western hemisphere with the exception of Australia.

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Top Ten Countries With the Highest Netflix User Penetration Rate, 2018

Top Ten Countries With the Highest Netflix User Penetration Rate, 2018
US: 64.5

US

%
Top Ten Countries With the Highest Netflix User Penetration Rate, 2018
Norway: 62.4

Norway

%
Top Ten Countries With the Highest Netflix User Penetration Rate, 2018
Canada: 56.3

Canada

%
Top Ten Countries With the Highest Netflix User Penetration Rate, 2018
Denmark: 54.9

Denmark

%
Top Ten Countries With the Highest Netflix User Penetration Rate, 2018
Sweden: 50.2

Sweden

%
Top Ten Countries With the Highest Netflix User Penetration Rate, 2018
Netherlands: 43.6

Netherlands

%
Top Ten Countries With the Highest Netflix User Penetration Rate, 2018
Australia: 42.7

Australia

%
Top Ten Countries With the Highest Netflix User Penetration Rate, 2018
Finland: 39.7

Finland

%
Top Ten Countries With the Highest Netflix User Penetration Rate, 2018
Germany: 35.5

Germany

%
Top Ten Countries With the Highest Netflix User Penetration Rate, 2018
UK: 33.8

UK

%

Source: eMarketer

Designed by

There are three countries and one disputed territory where Netflix is unavailable: China, North Korea, Syria, and Crimea. North Korea, Syria, and Crimea have US sanctions against them preventing Netflix from doing business in those countries.

The company is still working out options that will allow it to operate in China. However, it is not a total loss for Netflix: for now, its content is licensed to stream on local video streaming sites. Netflix opted out of operating in China due to stiff local competition and strict censorship restrictions. If Netflix can penetrate the China online video market—with an estimated market worth of $17.5 billion for 2020—they would be an even bigger OTT juggernaut.

The international market is where a big chunk of Netflix’s revenue comes from. The focus is on the Asia Pacific region, currently the smallest in the number of paid subscribers but has the biggest growth potential. The APAC region saw nearly three times the number of subscriber growth compared to other continents in the same period—third-quarter 2017 to third-quarter 2019.

Source: Netflix

Netflix Subscribers: Age and Gender Breakdown

Netflix’s core subscribers in the US are Gen-Xers and Millennials based on a study conducted by CivicSciences. The differences between age groups were larger in 2015 with 18-34 year-olds making up a huge share of Netflix subscribers while the 65 and over group were the smallest. The median age is now with the 35-44 age group in 2017 and beyond. Increases were also seen across the age groups of 34 to 65+ year-olds. The exceptions are the 18-24 year-olds and 25-34 year-olds with the former showing a steep decline to a third of its original—11% from 32%.

Women are more likely to be cable TV viewers than men[2] according to the Pew Research Center (63% vs. 55%). In contrast, men are more likely to stream online content for entertainment (31% vs 25%). Netflix’s user base goes against this grain as it splits with a slight skew towards women at a 49:51 ratio.

Other Demographics: Income, Education, and Age

Netflix appeals to viewers with a broad range of educational backgrounds but those who went to college are more likely to have an online streaming service subscription. Roughly 1 in 3 people who are college-level educated or have college degrees are Netflix users.

The results for annual income show a correlation between higher subscription rates and higher income levels. Households with an annual income of less than $30,000 rely on traditional TV[2] for their news and entertainment while those earning a median income of $50,000 are more likely to have a Netflix subscription.

Netflix Subscribers’ User Behaviors

Netflix bases its recommendations on a global algorithm based on what its users watch, like, and rate regardless of where the subscribers are from. Age and gender offer helpful insights for marketing and forecasting revenue goldmines but when it comes to tastes and preferences, there is a global average with no huge differences in what subscribers watch, like, and rate.

Frequency of Online Streaming

OTT subscriptions in the US are high with Netflix as the preferred paid subscription service, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu are the closest competitors. YouTube is in a unique position as the leader for most video streams but is not considered actual competition. It relies on ads for revenue and not the paid subscription-based revenue model as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu does.

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Us Netflix Subscriber Numbers vs Other Streaming Providers, 2018

(In Millions)

Us Netflix Subscriber Numbers vs Other Streaming Providers, 2018
YouTube: 192.0

YouTube

Us Netflix Subscriber Numbers vs Other Streaming Providers, 2018
Netflix: 147.5

Netflix

Us Netflix Subscriber Numbers vs Other Streaming Providers, 2018
Amazon Prime Video: 88.7

Amazon Prime Video

Us Netflix Subscriber Numbers vs Other Streaming Providers, 2018
Hulu: 55.0

Hulu

Us Netflix Subscriber Numbers vs Other Streaming Providers, 2018
HBO Now: 17.1

HBO Now

Us Netflix Subscriber Numbers vs Other Streaming Providers, 2018
Sling TV: 6.8

Sling TV

Source: eMarketer

Designed by

It has been reported that as of 2017, Netflix subscribers have binge-watched over 1 billion hours of content. The average Netflix subscriber watches 60 movies a year. On average, about half of Netflix subscribers stream several times a week.

Source: CivicScience

Interestingly, those who have Netflix and other OTT subscriptions use Netflix up to 60% higher, multiple times a week compared to their other streaming subscriptions.

The rise of Netflix and similar platforms have had such a huge impact they’ve affected the English language. Binge-watch was Collins English Dictionary’s 2015 word of the year[3]. The word entered pop-culture consciousness in 2013 when Netflix began releasing whole seasons of their shows in one go. The move is strategic marketing genius, feeding the frenzy of “just-one-more-episode” and boosting streaming views.

According to Netflix, the following shows are the top first-binges of new subscribers. The content is a mix of original and licensed content assets.

Top 20 First Binge Shows on Netflix
1. Breaking Bad 11. Sons of Anarchy
2. Orange Is the New Black 12. Dexter
3 Stranger Things 13. Gossip Girl
4. Prison Break 14. Power
5. Narcos 15. The Vampire Diaries
6. House of Cards 16. Suits
7. The Inbetweeners 17. Gavin and Stacey
8. American Horror Story 18. The Crown
9. Peaky Blinders 19. Making a Murderer
10. Pretty Little Liars 20. Homeland

The next list comprises the most-streamed TV shows on Netflix for 2019.

Most-Binged TV Shows on Netflix in 2019
1. Stranger Things 11. Big Mouth
2. Lucifer 12. Queer Eye (Season 4)
3 Orange Is the New Black 13. Mind Hunter
4. 13 Reasons Why 14. Designated Survivor
5. Marvel’s The Punisher 15. Frankie and Gracie
6. The Umbrella Academy 16. Dead to Me
7. Marvel’s Jessica Jones 17. The Rancher
8. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 18. One Day at a Time
9. Santa Clarita Diet 19. Atypical
10. You 20. Black Mirror

Device Insights: Netflix Subscribers’ Most Used

Going mobile has been the trend for the last decade with everything: websites, shopping, banking, gaming, and streaming—all optimized for a smartphone’s screen. Netflix can be viewed on mobile devices, PCs, and TVs. Subscribers can also sign up from the said devices.

Data from Netflix has shown that 70% of its content is streamed from a television.

Source: Netflix

Source: Netflix

Regardless of the device where the subscription was made, Netflix subscribers would eventually migrate from their handheld devices and computers to watch on their TVs.

Netflix subscribers' device usage 6 months later

Netflix’s Revenue and Subscription Model

As previously mentioned, Netflix has 158 million paid subscribers worldwide. This translated to revenue of $5.245 billion as of September 30, 2019, registering a 31.16% year-on-year increase from the previous year.

Is Netflix Profitable?

Netflix is one of the highest-earning media services providers on the market right now and is considered a unicorn (a tech company with a valuation of over a billion dollars), but where does the money come from?

Source: FourWeekMBA

The Netflix business model is based on a monthly subscription. The business has three segments: domestic streaming, international streaming, and domestic DVD rentals. The first two generates revenue from monthly subscription fees to stream content. The subscription rates have three tiers: Basic, Standard, and Premium. The third segment was the original business model until the company pivoted to OTT streaming in 2007. Netflix DVD currently has 2.2 million subscribers and generated $76.2 million in revenue for the second quarter of 2019.

Although Netflix continues its upward trend in subscriber growth, the business is not profitable yet. There is revenue and their growth numbers are astronomical; the business grew over 30% from the same period (third quarter 2018 – 2019). A closer look at their recently released financial statement would show it owes over $10 billion and have negative cash flow.

Despite the ballooning debt—Netflix took on another $2 billion in debt funding[4] to finance its content library—Moody’s forecasts the company will see positive cash flow by 2023.

Piracy and Password Sharing

There is an average of 2.5 viewers per Netflix subscription making the global total viewership go beyond 300 million. Netflix has traditionally turned a blind eye to password sharing. Competition from the OTT sphere and the possibility of Disney+ and other video streaming players cutting into its market share has Netflix rethinking its passive stance on password sharing.

There are 14% of US Netflix users who stream content using an account that someone else pays for. This is on top of 27% of users who stream using a subscription paid for someone in their household.

Source: MoffettNathanson

Lost Income From Password Sharing and Piracy

Netflix reports it loses $1.5 billion in potential income from password sharing. The losses could go higher with a Parks and Associates report placing the figure at $6.6 billion in losses from password sharing and piracy for the TV industry.

Source: Park Associates via Bloomberg

The problem is finding a balance between securing accounts of legitimate subscribers, weeding out the moochers, and avoiding alienating potential subscribers.

Subscription Rates per Region and Cost-Effectiveness

North America has generated paid subscription revenue of $67.1 million, 43% of worldwide revenue. US subscribers pay more with Netflix generating an average of $12.36 per paying subscriber. The figure is significantly lower at $9.45 for other parts of the world.

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Netflix Average Monthly Revenue per Paying Subscriber, Q3 2019

(In US Dollars)

Netflix Average Monthly Revenue per Paying Subscriber, Q3 2019
US and Canada: 12.36

US and Canada

Netflix Average Monthly Revenue per Paying Subscriber, Q3 2019
Europe, Middle East, and Africa: 10.26

Europe, Middle East, and Africa

Netflix Average Monthly Revenue per Paying Subscriber, Q3 2019
Asia Pacific: 9.31

Asia Pacific

Netflix Average Monthly Revenue per Paying Subscriber, Q3 2019
Latin America: 8.21

Latin America

Source: Netflix

Designed by

India tops the list of most cost-effective places for a standard subscription. You pay $0.00082 for every content title available in a library with over 5,500 titles.

Top 10 Most Cost-Effective Countries for Standard Netflix Plans 2019

No. of TV Shows No. of Movies Total Library Size Cost Per Month Standard (Local) Cost Per Month Standard ($) Cost per Title Standard ($)
India 1810 3781 5591 INR 649 $9.17 $0.00082
Colombia 1350 2932 4282 COP 24,900 $7.21 $0.00084
Australia 1734 3615 5349 AUD 13.99 $9.50 $0.00089
Philippines 1542 3371 4912 PHP 460 $8.84 $0.00090
Canada 1687 4043 5730 CAD 13.99 $10.52 $0.00092
South Africa 1709 3278 4987 ZAR 139 $9.22 $0.00092
Bangladesh 1731 3549 5280 USD 9.99 $9.99 $0.00095
United Kingdom 1842 3831 5673 GBP 8.99 $10.91 $0.00096
Chile 1351 2930 4281 CPL 5,990 $8.41 $0.00098
Nepal 1511 3555 5066 USD 9.99 $9.99 $0.00099

In contrast, Iran only has 2,301 titles in its library which will end up costing the subscriber $0.00347 per piece of content.

Top 10 Least Cost-Effective Countries for Netflix Basic Plans 2019

No. of TV Shows No. of Movies Total Library Size Cost Per Month Standard (Local) Cost Per Month Basic ($) Cost per Title Standard ($)
Iran 586 1715 2301 USD 7.99 $7.99 $0.00347
Denmark 1063 2462 3525 DKK 79 $11.84 $0.00336
Egypt 889 1605 2494 USD 7.99 $7.99 $0.00320
Norway 766 2437 3203 NOK 89 $9.95 $0.00311
Qatar 727 1931 2658 USD 7.99 $7.99 $0.00301
Iraq 724 1967 2691 USD 7.99 $7.99 $0.00297
Algeria 772 1996 2768 USD 7.99 $7.99 $0.00289
Jordan 778 2020 2798 USD 7.99 $7.99 $0.00286
Lebanon 864 1938 2802 USD 7.99 $7.99 $0.00285
Portugal 1079 2063 3142 EUR 7.99 $8.94 $0.00285

Turkey has the cheapest subscription rate at $3.27 a month while Denmark has the most expensive at $12.37.

Netflix and Other Over-the-Top Platforms

In 2014, Netflix ruled the US OTT market with a 90% market share. Five years on, and eMarketer forecasts Netflix will end 2019 with an 87% market share. It still enjoys a huge lead over Amazon Prime Video with 93.5 million viewers and a near 53% penetration rate. Hulu will end 2019 with 75.8 million viewers and a penetration rate of 41.5%.

Many OTT subscribers have multiple accounts with different providers that make the total values go beyond 100%. The chart below shows a comparison of subscriber numbers of major players in the streaming industry.

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Number of Over-the-Top Video Viewers by Provider, as of 2019

(In Millions)

Number of Over-the-Top Video Viewers by Provider, as of 2019
Netflix: 158.8

Netflix

Number of Over-the-Top Video Viewers by Provider, as of 2019
Amazon Prime Video: 96.5

Amazon Prime Video

Number of Over-the-Top Video Viewers by Provider, as of 2019
Hulu: 75.8

Hulu

Number of Over-the-Top Video Viewers by Provider, as of 2019
HBO Now: 23.1

HBO Now

Number of Over-the-Top Video Viewers by Provider, as of 2019
Sling TV: 7

Sling TV

Source: eMarketer

Designed by

Platforms: Players and Leaders

Apple TV and Disney+ joined the increasingly crowded OTT space in November 2019. Aggressive marketing and lower monthly subscription plans have propelled Apple TV and Disney+ with subscribers jumping ship from Netflix.

Disney+ has signed up more than 10 million subscribers a day after it launched on November 12. Industry analysts estimate Netflix lost 1 million subscribers who canceled their subscriptions after signing up for Disney+. Some good news for Netflix would be the fact Disney+ only offers a 7-day trial and a number of those 10 million who signed up will not convert to paid subscriptions afterward.

Apple TV has not released its subscription numbers yet. Although they offer the lowest subscription rate compared to other services, their content assets are limited—10 shows with about 10 episodes each.

Five other streaming services are set to launch in 2020 giving Netflix even more competition.

  1. HBO Max
  2. Peacock
  3. Quibi
  4. Discovery/BBC
  5. AT&T TV

Streaming Service Content Assets

The content wars are only beginning. Disney has the combined content assets from Disney, Pixar, ABC, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Touchstone Pictures, Fox, and 50% equity holdings in A&E, History Channel, and Lifetime. Even if Disney does not produce new content for the next five years, it still won’t run out of films and TV shows to stream.

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Billion Dollar Content Race of OTT Media 2019

Billion Dollar Content Race of OTT Media 2019
$18.7 billion: Disney

$18.7 billion

Disney
Billion Dollar Content Race of OTT Media 2019
$15.9 billion: Comcast

$15.9 billion

Comcast
Billion Dollar Content Race of OTT Media 2019
$12.2 billion: AT&T

$12.2 billion

AT&T
Billion Dollar Content Race of OTT Media 2019
$9.2 billion: Netflix

$9.2 billion

Netflix
Billion Dollar Content Race of OTT Media 2019
$8.8 billion: CBS Viacom

$8.8 billion

CBS Viacom
Billion Dollar Content Race of OTT Media 2019
$5.8 billion: Amazon

$5.8 billion

Amazon
Billion Dollar Content Race of OTT Media 2019
$3.8 billion: Fox

$3.8 billion

Fox
Billion Dollar Content Race of OTT Media 2019
$2.6 billion: Discovery

$2.6 billion

Discovery
Billion Dollar Content Race of OTT Media 2019
$2 billion: Apple

$2 billion

Apple
Billion Dollar Content Race of OTT Media 2019
$1 billion: AMC

$1 billion

AMC

Source: MoffettNathanson, Company Reports

Designed by

Netflix’s Content Library

As of June 2019, Netflix USA had 5,879 titles in its library. The number will fluctuate in the coming months, content will be removed because licensing agreements have lapsed. Another reason for a diminishing library is competition—Disney+, NBCUniversal, and WarnerMedia have plans to launch their own streaming services in 2020.

Original and Licensed Content

Netflix has raised an additional $2 billion in funding to beef up its content library with more original content. Netflix currently has a library of 850 original content assets. The new titles amount to about 1,500 hours of streaming.

Source: Statista

Broken down by genre and show type, TV series make up two-thirds of the content assets. Surprisingly, stand-up comedy series make up just 1%, tied with talkshows.

Netflix originals are a mix of genres and quality; some banking on star power, others on formulaic plots, and some on story-driven plots worthy of acclaim. These original assets have amassed a combined 188 nominations and 51 wins from various award-giving bodies as of July 2019.

Awards Body Number of Nominations Wins
Emmys 128 37
Golden Globes 27 4
Grammys 4 4
Academy Awards 29 6

Birdbox is Netflix’s most viewed originally produced movie to date, garnering 80 million views; Stranger Things is the most-watched original series with 64 million views.


References:

  1. ^US SEC – FORM 10-K Netflix, Inc.
  2. ^Pew Research Center | About 6 in 10 young adults in U.S. primarily use online streaming to watch TV
  3. ^Collins Dictionary | Word of the Year 2015
  4. ^https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/23/netflix-offers-2-billion-more-in-debt-to-fund-its-content-spending/

Additional sources:

Jenny Chang

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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