Netflix added 8.5 million paid subscribers in Q4, surpassing 200 million for the first time despite slowed growth following a massive pandemic-driven spike

Netflix added 8.5 million paid subscribers in Q4, surpassing 200 million for the first time despite slowed growth following a massive pandemic-driven spike
  • Netflix surpassed 200 million subscribers during Q4 as growth looks to be slowing after a pandemic-driven spike in 2020.
  • It added 8.51 million paid subscribers in Q4, surpassing estimates of 6.03 million.
  • Netflix continues to face competition with a slew of new streaming rivals, like Disney Plus and HBO Max.

Netflix surpassed 200 million paid subscribers during the fourth quarter.

On Tuesday, the streaming giant said it added 8.51 million paid subscribers during Q4 - it forecasted the addition of 6 million subscribers, while Wall Street analysts expected 6.03 million. That's still lower than in years past - Netflix raked in 9 million new subscribers in Q4 2019 alone - but the addition brings Netflix's total subscriber count to 200 million, a major milestone for the streaming giant.

The fourth quarter's additions bring Netflix's total paid memberships for 2020 to 37 million, up 31% from 2019's 28 million.

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Netflix fell slightly short of expectations for profits during the fourth quarter. It posted earnings of $1.19 per share, compared to the $1.39 that analysts estimated.

Read more: Netflix usage continued to climb internationally during Q4, exclusive web-tracking data suggests. But North American usage dipped.


In the last month of Q4, Netflix's original show "Bridgerton," produced by "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes, hit the platform to much fanfare and is set to be Netflix's fifth biggest original series yet, with "Stranger Things" and "The Witcher" sitting ahead of it. It premiered on Christmas Day and was projected to be watched by 63 million households in its first 28 days on the service. George Clooney's "The Midnight Sky" was the platform's largest original film of the fourth quarter, according to Netflix.

Netflix also has a bevy of highly anticipated offerings debuting on its service in 2021, and it said it plans to release at least one original film every week this year. That was a topic of interest for analysts in Q3 as many speculated what the streaming company's production lineup would look like heading into the new year.

Netflix raised its subscription prices in October, which could help offset the costs associated with producing new original content.

Netflix remains the top streaming platform, according to a December Wall Street Journal analysis that found it would wrap up 2020 as the platform with the most subscribers. The company surpassed analysts' expectations for subscriber growth during the first half of 2020 as viewers sought entertainment at home during the pandemic. But that growth slowed in the third quarter, with Netflix adding only 2.2 million paid subscribers compared with the 3.3 million that analysts expected.

The streaming market is growing crowded as newcomers, like Discovery Plus, enter the race for home viewers' attention and as cable TV continues to decline in popularity. Netflix continues to compete with Hulu, Disney Plus, Amazon's Prime Video, and HBO Max, whose "Wonder Woman 1984" was released on Christmas Day.


Here are the key numbers to watch from Netflix's Q4 earnings:

  • Q4 revenue: $6.64 billion, versus Wall Street estimates of $6.63 billion and Netflix's forecast of $6.57 billion.
  • Q4 earnings per share (GAAP): $1.19, versus Wall Street estimates of $1.39 and Netflix's forecast of $1.35.
  • Q4 global paid subscriber growth (paid net additions): 8.51 million, versus Wall Street estimates of 6.03 million and Netflix's forecast of 6 million.
  • Q1 global paid subscriber growth estimate (paid net additions estimate): 6 million versus, Wall Street estimates of 7.35 million.