Netflix added over 15 major new pay-television partners in 2019. It has over 100 major partnership deals with operators, giving it access to more than 300 million homes that pay for television services. For television service providers it may be preferable to keep subscribers on their platform, ideally with a single billing relationship on which they may receive commission.
Ampere Analysis reported that over 86% of pay-television homes in the United States had access to Netflix through their platform at the end of 2018. The proportion in Western Europe was over 75%, including all the major operators in France.
Elsewhere, it seems Netflix has more work to do. The proportion of pay-television subscribers whose services offer Netflix apps in Central and Eastern Europe, and in the Asia Pacific region, was less than 15%.
“The increase in the number of pay TV partnerships with Netflix marks a distinct shift in the industry, as more and more of the streaming giant’s traditional ‘enemies’ cozy up through onboarding deals,” said Ampere analyst Elinor Clark.
This is not a recent innovation. Netflix struck its first operator deal, with Virgin Media in the United Kingdom, back in September 2013. BT partnered with Netflix in October 2014. It arrived on Sky Q and Now TV in November 2018.
Ofcom reported that in the first quarter of 2019 there were 11.47 million Netflix subscribers in the United Kingdom, representing 40% of households, as determined by the BARB Establishment Survey. There were 14.3 million homes paying for a television service.
Of those households with both a Sky and a Netflix subscription, 25% said they paid for their Netflix service as part of their monthly Sky subscription, 66% paid Netflix directly, and 10% said they did not know, according to the Ofcom Technology Tracker.
Netflix has 60.62 million subscribers in the United States and 97.71 million elsewhere, giving it a total of 158.33 million worldwide.
There are about 90 million pay television subscribers in the United States and around 590 million elsewhere, excluding China.
While Netflix is sometimes portrayed as a substitute for subscription television, for many it is a supplement. By making it available within their offering and user interface, television service providers can maintain loyalty to their platform. It is a strategic decision that many operators are taking.