With the world on lockdown, Netflix is thriving. The biggest streaming service on the globe continues to get bigger, adding new subscribers by the day. Growth for Netflix is normal, but the growth it has experienced since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic has been off the charts. In the first quarter of this year, Netflix added a whopping 15.77 million subscribers to its already massive customer base. That sets a company record for gains in a single quarter.
Heading into Q1, Netflix informed investors that it expected to add seven million subscribers to start the year. That was before things got serious with the pandemic. With people now spending most of their time at home, Netflix has become even more popular than before. There are now 182.9 million Netflix subscribers worldwide, 22.8% higher than the total this time last year.
Of course, the main reason behind the subscriber spike is COVID-19, meaning that the growth is only temporary. Netflix know that. In a letter to investors on Tuesday, Netflix said that the growth was "temporary," but that it will also cause the company to have a little more cash flow than normal, thanks to the shutting down of several productions.
"Our membership growth has temporarily accelerated due to home confinement," Netflix stated in the letter. "Some cash spending on content will be delayed, improving our free cash flow, and some titles will be delayed, typically by a quarter."
The release delays are coming to Netflix at some point, as the company's productions have been shut down for weeks. However, because of the Netflix business model, there were already more than enough movies and shows in the tank, ready to be released when the pandemic began. This has allowed Netflix to continuously release content, while movie studios and TV networks are scrambling to get anything out to the public.
Things will get tougher for Netflix going forward, with the continued growth of Disney+ and the upcoming launches of HBO Max and Peacock. However, it remains clear, at least for now, that Netflix has a firm grasp on the streaming landscape. That won't change for a while.