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Netflix gains 8.5m new subscribers, shares surge

Netflix added 8.5m paid subscribers in the four months to 31 December – significantly higher than analyst expectations of 6.1m.

The streaming service saw strong trading as the world remained under lockdown restrictions. The group has a total of 203m paid subscribers across the world.

Revenue increased from $5.5bn to $6.6bn (£4.8bn), higher then expectations of $6.63bn for this quarter.

Throughout the festive season, Netflix streamed various Christmas films that performed particularly well.

“Our holiday movie slate also resonated with our members; in the first four weeks, 68m and 61m member households chose to watch Holidate (starring Emma Roberts) and The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two (starring Kurt Russell), respectively. Our first Portuguese language holiday film from Brazil, Just Another Christmas (starring Leandro Hassum), was also a big hit with 26m member households globally choosing to watch in the first 28 days of release,” said the group in a statement.

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Streaming also was helped by the closure of cinemas and delays of major blockbuster films including James Bond and Avatar 2.

Shares in the group surged 11% on the update and have increased over 50% over the past year.

Alistair Thom, chief executive of free-to-air TV provider Freesat, commented on the streaming service update: “We’re approaching nearly a year of on-off lockdown restrictions and, for many of us, the only form of entertainment has been watching TV at home. Central to that has been streaming services like Netflix with people racking up hours of binge viewing, which the latest figures underline.”

“However, as things ‘get back to normal’ and other entertainment options resume, Netflix and its competitors will be hoping to hold onto their newly expanded audiences and that they retain their current viewing patterns.”