As part of their quarterly earnings call earlier today, Netflix officially announced that in the fourth quarter of 2020 they added an additional 8.5 million paid subscribers to their service which has pushed them to over 200 million paid memberships around the world. The bulk of these subscribers are from the United States and Canada with 73.94 million paid memberships as of the end of 2020. Compared to other regions around the world however growth in the US was a fraction of other areas with only 900k added subscribers (where prices were raised at the end of October). Europe, the Middle East and Africa on the other hand added 4.5 million paid memberships, bringing its total subscribers to 66.7 million.
"2020 was an incredibly difficult year with extraordinary loss for so many families, new restrictions that none of us have ever had to live with before and great uncertainty," the company wrote in its letter to shareholders. "We’re enormously grateful that in these uniquely challenging times we’ve been able to provide our members around the world with a source of escape, connection and joy while continuing to build our business. With 8.5m paid net additions in Q4, we crossed the 200m paid memberships mark. For the full year, we added a record 37m paid memberships, achieved $25 billion in annual revenue (+24% year over year) and grew operating profit 76% to $4.6 billion."
The addition of 8.5 million new subscribers at the end of 2020 was 21% year over year growth for the streamer, who projects that by the end of the first quarter of 2021 they'll have just over 209 million paid subscribers worldwide.
With their current total over just over 203 million subscribers worldwide, Netflix is the most popular streaming service around the globe. The only other services that come close are Amazon Prime Video, which has over 150 million worldwide, and China's Tencent Video (which services the Middle Kingdom and other east Asian countries) with over 120 million.
The Walt Disney Company's Disney+ was previously reported to have over 86.8 million subscribers worldwide, which puts it well behind Netflix. A few things are worth noting about that point however as Disney+ is just over a year old and is quickly gaining on Netflix, with plans underway for further international expansion in some key markets. In addition the company previously projected anywhere from 230 million to 260 million subscribers for Disney+ by 2024. Should Netflix's subscriber growth continue at its current pace it'll only be a few years before Disney and Netflix are seemingly going back and forth as having the most subscribers in the streaming wars.
(Cover photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)