Netflix’s co-founders, Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, came up with the idea of a flat-fee, unlimited movie-rental service after paying a $40 late fee at Blockbuster’s. At least that’s how the story goes. It was, in fact, a tale made up by Hastings and Randolph to illustrate the company’s motivation and philosophy.
Since that fictional Blockbuster’s encounter, Netflix has successfully transitioned from a DVD-rental service to a global behemoth of the streaming industry, constantly reinventing and refining the new medium. The company’s annual revenue clocked in at $15.8 billion in 2018, and total Netflix subscribers now number more than 150 million around the world.
We’ve accumulated a wealth of facts about Netflix, ranging from revenue numbers to viewership demographics around the globe.
Netflix Statistics About Business and Revenue
Netflix annual revenue
- 2018 - $15.794 billion
- 2017 - $11.692 billion
- 2016 - $8.830 billion
- 2015 - $6.779 billion
- 2014 - $5.504 billion
In the first two quarters of 2019, Netflix generated $9.44 billion in revenue.
Netflix made $1.212 billion in profits in 2018.
That’s more than double what the service made in 2017.
Here’s a table of Netflix’s net income by year:
- 2018 $1.21 billion
- 2017 $559 million
- 2016 $186.6 million
- 2015 $122.6 million
- 2014 $266.8 million
Netflix’s market cap is $115.19 billion.
This is information from the end of September 2019, right after a substantial dip in share value of around $26 billion.
Netflix’s stock history shows that its market cap peaked in June 2018 at $178.86 billion.
Netflix’s net worth is $5.23 billion.
(Netflix Annual Report 2018)
We took the ‘total stockholder’s equity’ figure from Netflix’s annual report to be the approximate answer to the question “How much is Netflix worth?”
Here’s an overview of Netflix’s net worth over a five-year period.
- 2018 - $5.23 billion
- 2017 - $3.58 billion
- 2016 - $2.68 billion
- 2015 - $2.22 billion
- 2014 - $1.85 billion
The number of Netflix employees is now around 7,100.
Of those, 6,900 work in the video streaming department.
84% - the Netflix market share for streaming services.
Video streaming is the flavor of the decade, and Netflix is dominating. While 84% of streamers have a Netflix subscription, fewer than half (46%) watch Amazon Prime. As such, it looks like the Amazon Prime vs Netflix battle is skewing heavily toward the latter. Twenty-eight percent of the binge-watching population has a Hulu subscription.
People who stream video on any platform tend to be birds of a feather, although there are subtle demographic differences between users of each service.
Netflix demographics show a slightly younger, slightly more urban audience with a larger income than the average streamer.
Netflix has allocated a budget of $15 billion to creating original content in 2019.
This is a $3 billion increase on 2018’s already-immense budget for original content of $12 billion.
Netflix decision-makers have decided that producing original content is their strategy of choice for staying afloat on the treacherous seas of OTT. This risky approach has yielded some of the most popular shows on television today, like Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards.
Netflix execs have, however, instructed their subordinates to be more careful when doling out the dough. This probably means that behind the hits, there are just as many busts.
Netflix is the sixth-largest internet company.
Other than Netflix, no streaming service appears on the list.
The first five, in order:
- Alphabet Inc.
- Tencent Holdings
Netflix’s app is the fifth-biggest moneymaker in the Apple App Store with almost $24 million in revenue.
The first five spots on the app revenue top list make similar amounts of money, around $24 million.
There are only two apps on the top 10 list that aren’t games - Netflix at number five with $24 million and Tinder topping the charts convincingly with $32.37 million in revenue.
Netflix User Statistics - Viewership, Subscribers and Penetration
How many subscribers does Netflix have? 151.56 million in Q2 2019.
Here’s the answer straight from the horse’s mouth: Netflix’s annual and quarterly reports from 2019.
Below you’ll see the number of Netflix subscribers listed in millions.
Netflix Total Subscribers:
|Paid memberships||New members||Free trials at end of year|
Netflix US Subscribers:
|Year||Paid memberships||New members||Free trials at end of year||
Netflix claims its viewer base is at least twice as big as its subscriber base. By that logic, there are more than 300 million Netflix viewers.
Netflix’s subscriber numbers account for single subscriptions - they don’t factor in the fact that many people share accounts. When Netflix had 104 million subscribers, the company estimated it had more than 300 million viewers, so it’s safe to assume that number is now even larger.
Netflix is the third-most popular network, with 74% of respondents to a YouGov public opinion survey saying they had a positive opinion of it.
The Discovery Channel and National Geographic are more beloved than Netflix, with 76% and 75% of respondents having a positive opinion of them, respectively.
Netflix is the most famous network among US consumers - 99% of consumers have heard of it.
ABC holds second place and CNN third, with 98% of respondents having heard of the major networks.
In households that use streaming services, Netflix has a penetration rate of 73%.
Based on a comprehensive study of OTT services published by Comscore, Netflix outclasses its competition. YouTube’s paid service is present in only 50% of households, Amazon Prime in 36%, and Hulu in 28%.
Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and Hulu hold 75% of streaming time amongst OTT services.
These are the giants, according to streaming statistics published by Comscore.
Netflix’s DVD-rental service still had 2.7 million subscribers in the US at the end of 2018.
The DVDre-ntal service still contributed $365.5 to Netflix revenue last year.
The numbers are dropping, though - in 2016 there were 4 million subscribers.
42% of people who have a video streaming account are Gen Xers.
Gen Xers - people born between 1965 and 1980 - are also known as the latchkey generation. During their formative years, children of this generation received the least amount of nurture and care from their parents and often returned to an empty home after school.
These kids had free reign over the remote control and the TV was often their primary educator and caregiver. That may be one of the reasons why streaming services are so popular within this age bracket.
At 39%, millennials - who were born between 1981 and 1996 - represent the second-largest video streaming demographic. These people gained access to computers at a much younger age than their Gen X counterparts.
Netflix Usage Statistics
Netflix data usage information.
Strict data plans call for strict data planning.
There are four data usage regimes to choose from on Netflix. The different plans allow for different amounts of data transfers per hour per device.
- Low - 0.3 GB per hour per device.
- Medium - 0.7 GB in SD per hour per device.
- High - 3 GB in HD, 7 GB Ultra HD per hour per device.
- Auto - Maximum quality for the current internet speed.
Mobile binge-watchers have further controls.
- Automatic: Optimize quality and bandwidth according to current connection speed.
- Wi-Fi only: Netflix will only stream when you are connected to a Wi-Fi network.
- Save data: Minimizes data spent. With this setting, you get roughly six hours of Netflix viewing activity per gigabyte of data.
- Maximum data: Top-quality streaming, usually around 1 GB for 20 minutes. Recommended only for those with unlimited data plans.
Netflix accounts for 15% of all downstream traffic globally.
Downstream traffic refers to the “download” aspect of internet communication - the data that’s being sent from a server to a user.
Netflix sends gigabytes upon gigabytes of data each second to users around the world. During primetime slots, almost 40% of downstream bandwidth is taken up by Netflix.
The fact that the platform is known for its highly optimized compression algorithms makes these Netflix internet usage statistics even more impressive.
Netflix subscribers in 2017 streamed 140 million hours per day globally.
Binge-watching feeds the content glutton lurking inside all of us.
‘Netflix cheating’ is another term that illustrates just how heavily video streaming has influenced our day-to-day life. It means watching episodes of your favorite show without your viewing buddy.
According to Netflix statistics, the most popular show for cheating on your partner in 2017 was Narcos.
There are 39.3 million cord-cutters - people who no longer have access to traditional TV services - in the USA.
Netflix vs cable statistics show that old media still reigns supreme, with around 186 million Americans still actively watching scheduled programming from cable operators.
Even though cord-cutter numbers are growing by millions yearly, it’s projected that they will still only make up 20% of the US population in 2022.
The ‘average subscriber’ watches one hour and 11 minutes of Netflix every day.
The portal Streaming Observer arrived at this number by dividing the total subscriber numbers by the total streaming numbers published by Netflix in 2017.
This might not be the most useful way of calculating the number, but it puts us in the ballpark. Indeed, it shows that the average user spends more than 5% of their waking time watching Netflix.
There are more than 2,000 identified “taste communities” among Netflix’s viewer base.
The algorithm that recommends shows you might enjoy is one of the best-kept trade secrets in the world.
However, high-ranking Netflix official Cindy Holland recently divulged some crucial information about the way Netflix evaluates match percentage. The platform organizes its customers into “taste communities” - clusters of subscribers who respond positively to certain kinds of content.
Netflix then uses this data to commission new original content.
Surprisingly enough, Netflix demographics like age, gender, and nationality are the least-important part of the equation. People from completely disparate parts of the world and socio-economic backgrounds can be members of the same taste community.
70% of Netflix users binge-watch, according to Netflix watching statistics.
Binge-watching is the act of lying in the same position for hours on end while people talk on screen. A small percentage of people even stream an entire show without a break from the moment it’s released.
Netflix Show Statistics
Netflix released 90,000 minutes of never-before-aired material in 2018, according to rough estimates.
This data comes from 345 original Netflix shows that had their premieres in 2018.
The share by minutes was as follows:
- Series - 66%
- Documentaries - 11%
- Feature-length movies - 10%
- Kids shows - 5%
- Anime - 3%
- Stand-up comedy specials - 3%
- Stand-up comedy series - 1%
- Talk shows - 1%
In total, 850 original titles were streamed in 2018.
A record-breaking 40.7 million households watched the third season of Stranger Things in the first four days of it airing.
Netflix viewership statistics, like for all OTT services, are notoriously hard to come by. Companies are reluctant to publish figures. We usually have to take companies’ word for it whenever they do decide to release morsels of information.
Nielsen’s rating systems are not completely relevant, according to Netflix - they don’t take into account viewers from outside the US and those who watch on cell phones.
According to Netflix statistics, the most popular show in the world right now is Stranger Things. The highly anticipated third season was binged completely within four days by 18.2 million subscribers.
2.88 million people had the first episode of the last season of House of Cards in their Netflix viewing history just a week after it was released.
These are the numbers published by Nielsen.
Netflix often disagrees with Nielsen’s estimates because the agency only takes television views into the equation, ignoring smartphone watchers.
When They See Us was watched in 25 million households around the world within its first month of airing.
Netflix’s aggressive budgeting for original content is paying off. The 2019 drama mini-series When They See Us raised global awareness about the Central Park jogger case thanks to its popularity on the streaming service.
Netflix paid a ballpark figure of $100 million to retain streaming rights for Friends for another year.
Even though Netflix is splashing out big on original content, the company still had room in the budget in 2019 to pay $100 million to keep streaming Friends, a generation-defining show.
OTT providers are notoriously secretive about their viewership numbers, but one has to wonder just how many people still watch Friends if Netflix is willing to outbid Hulu’s offer of $30 million three times over.
Netflix Around the World
Netflix’s international expansion timeline.
- 2007 - Netflix starts its streaming service in the United States.
- 2010 - The service enters Canada, its first border crossing.
- 2011 - Spreads to Latin America, Caribbean, Belize, and the Guianas.
- 2012 - European invasion. Netflix reaches the UK and Ireland in January, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland in October.
- 2013 - Slows down to consolidate subscription prices. Only adds the Netherlands to its list.
- 2014 - Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and Switzerland.
- 2015 - Australia and New Zealand, Japan, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
- 2016 - Global domination. Netflix starts streaming in every country around the world, save for Syria, China, North Korea, and the Crimean Peninsula.
- 2017 - Netflix reaches an agreement with its Chinese counterpart, iQiyi, to start streaming its original content in the PRC.
6.78 million Canadians had a Netflix subscription in 2018.
Netflix started its international expansion in 2010 by crossing the northern border into Canada.
This number is projected to rise to 7.96 million by 2023.
More than 11.5 million Brits are subscribed to Netflix.
The American streaming service is popular across the pond. It is set to surpass the most popular pay-TV service in the UK, Sky TV, which has been dominating the market for three decades.
India is proving to be a difficult market to penetrate for Netflix, with only 4.1 million Indian subscribers at the end of 2019.
India’s population is very sensitive to pricing, as it is already saturated with lower-cost competitors like Amazon Prime. Netflix has a goal of reaching 100 million subscribers in India, which is still a relatively small portion of the country’s 1.34 billion-strong population.
8.5 million - how many people have Netflix in Brazil.
Brazil was one of the first foreign markets Netflix infiltrated, after Canada. Along with the UK, Brazil is considered to be “best performing international territories” for Netflix.
Netflix is most-expensive in Switzerland; it costs $11.95 per month for the basic plan.
Denmark ($11.88), Norway ($10.37), Sweden ($9.58), and the UK ($9.11) aren’t far behind Switzerland in terms of how much you need to pay for Stranger Things (and, we presume, a few other decent shows).
The difference between payment plans determines how many people can watch Netflix at once. The basic plan is the most inexpensive option. However, it only allows you to stream shows on one device at a time.
Netflix is least-expensive in Colombia - $5.40 per month for the basic plan.
Four of the five least-expensive Netflix countries are in Latin America: Colombia ($5.40), Brazil ($5.65), Pakistan ($6.70), Mexico ($6.76), Chile ($6.90).
The Netflix library size is largest for US viewers, with 1,761 series and 4,091 movies.
How much content is on Netflix? Well, it depends where you’re from; Netflix’s library varies from country to country. Subscribers in Albania have the least choice: only 33 shows and 200 movies, for a €12 monthly subscription fee.
On the other hand, Netflix vs TV statistics show that the “average American” watches 2.8 hours of TV a day. The cord is yet to be cut, it seems.
Using a VPN sometimes helps bypass georestrictions.
Netflix History - From DVD Rental to Streaming
When the Netflix IPO was launched in 2002, the price of each share was $15. That number reached its current peak of $411 in June 2018.
The company has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1998 as the first online DVD-rental service. Back then, it offered 925 rentable titles, which was almost the entire DVD catalogue at the time.
Its first four years in business were far from lucrative. The Netflix business model needed to wait for DVD technology to become widespread among consumers before it took off.
In 2001, DVD players became the most popular Christmas gift, triggering a huge increase in Netflix’s subscription base. This lead to Netflix launching its IPO in 2002, selling 5.5 million shares of common stock at $15 a piece.
In the 2003 financial year, Netflix reported its first profit - $6.5 million on $272 million of revenue, according to Netflix stats.
By 2004, two-thirds of American homes owned a DVD player. In 2005, Netflix shipped a million DVDs a day, relying on the U.S. Postal Service. The company’s movie catalogue included around 35,000 different titles.
When Netflix started offering streaming services to its subscribers in 2007, the streaming catalogue had only 1% of the titles of the DVD catalogue.
Despite DVD sales numbers dropping considerably as the ‘00s turned into the ‘10s, Netflix’s revenue continued to grow.
The first plan to counter DVDs becoming abandonware was to distribute a piece of hardware called the “Netflix box.” The box was designed to allow users to download movies overnight and have them ready the next day. Household internet bandwidth wasn’t good enough for simultaneous streaming and buffering at high quality, so the box was supposed to remedy that.
When Netflix executives saw YouTube’s success, despite the low quality of streaming it offered, they decided to scrap the hardware idea and develop a regular streaming app. Consequently, the company split its DVD-rental and streaming services. This led to dissatisfaction and a substantial drop in the subscriber base.
The numbers were still high, however - by the end of 2011, the service had 24.4 million subscribers in the USA alone.
We hope these Netflix statistics help you piece together a clearer picture of just how massive this service is. It is the quintessential internet phenomenon: global, omnipresent, and groundbreaking.
The years to come will show how the business model fares, especially as other big players join the picture. Soon, we can expect to see a stand-off between Netflix and Disney’s new streaming platform, equipped with evergreen hits like the Star Wars series.
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