Netflix added over 8.25 million paid subscribers in the first quarter of 2018, a gain of almost 7.5%. As well as adding 2.28 million paid subscribers in the United States, Netflix gained 5.98 million elsewhere, taking its total to 118.9 million.
The quarterly increase was higher than the same period the previous year, when Netflix added 1.47 million subscribers in the United States and 3.80 million in other countries.
The number of subscribers in the United States is continuing to grow, suggesting that Netflix is still not approaching market saturation. It now has over 55 million paid subscribers in the United States, a market with around 90 million subscribers to pay television.
The rate of international growth is accelerating, given the total addressable market is significant. Netflix has 63.82 million subscribers outside the United States up from 44.99 million a year previously, an increase of nearly 42%. They now account for 55% of memberships.
Overall, paid subscriber numbers are up 25% year on year. Netflix is aiming for 125 million subscribers worldwide by the middle of 2018.
Revenue for the first quarter of 2018 was up to $3.7 billion, which was up by 43% year on year.
Netflix still receives more revenue from streaming services in the United States, but international revenue is forecast to overtake this in the next quarter.
Netflix is planning to spend $7.5 to $ billion in programming in 2018, across a variety of formats. It says it is investing in more marketing of new original titles to increase what it calls “density of viewing” to support subscriber retention and acquisition.
The company is increasingly offering Netflix as part of a bundled package with pay television providers. It will begin doing so with Sky later in 2018 and is rolling this out with Comcast in the United States. It says this allows partners to attract more customers and upsell existing subscribers to higher packages, while Netflix benefits from more reach, awareness and a simple sign-up and payment process. It says lower churn in these bundles offsets the lower price it receives per subscriber. While Netflix says it remains primarily a direct-to-consumer business, it sees bundling as an attractive supplemental channel.
Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix, told analysts: “We want to be one of the apps that nearly everybody has on their home screen, whether that’s on the phone or on the television.”
He acknowledged that people have a lot of entertainment options. He said that whether the Netflix share of the market grows or shrinks is up to whether it produces great content, markets it well and serves it up beautifully. “If we do that really well, if we earn more of consumers’ time, then we continue to grow,” he said. “If we get lazy or slow, we’ll be run over, just like anybody else.”
“We’re a fraction of the hours of viewing of YouTube. We’re a fraction of the hours of viewing of linear TV. We’ve got some great momentum, and we’re very excited about that, but we have a long way to go in terms of earning all of the viewing that we want to.”