COVID-19

Everybody’s watching: Netflix sees subscriber surge of 16 million with COVID-19 lockdowns

Nova Safo Apr 22, 2020
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Netflix expects future quarters will see waning growth, as social distancing measures are eased. Netflix via Getty Images
COVID-19

Everybody’s watching: Netflix sees subscriber surge of 16 million with COVID-19 lockdowns

Nova Safo Apr 22, 2020
Netflix expects future quarters will see waning growth, as social distancing measures are eased. Netflix via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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Turns out a lot of the people spending too much time with the “Tiger King” were actually first-time Netflix subscribers.

The streaming giant says it added nearly 16 million new customers in the first quarter of this year — more than double what it was expecting.

Netflix says many homebound consumers searching for entertainment have flocked to its service since mid-March, leading to 22% subscriber growth year-over-year. But the company was cautious not to be too optimistic about the sudden jump in subscriptions.

It expects future quarters will see waning growth, as social distancing measures are eased.

In a video released by Netflix, CEO Reed Hastings says the coronavirus pandemic still has a lot of unknowns, which makes planning ahead difficult.

“It’s super hard to say if there’s strategic long-term implications, because we’ve just been scrambling to keep our service running well, keep the content, get our post-production done,” Hastings said.

Netflix has had to halt production on future programming, but says because it films material far in advance, it has enough new content for months to come — if not into next year.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

New COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. are on the rise. How are Americans reacting?

Johns Hopkins University reports the seven-day average of new cases hit 68,767 on Sunday  — a record — eclipsing the previous record hit in late July during the second, summer wave of infection. A funny thing is happening with consumers though: Even as COVID-19 cases rise, Americans don’t appear to be shying away from stepping indoors to shop or eat or exercise. Morning Consult asked consumers how comfortable they feel going out to eat, to the shopping mall or on a vacation. And their willingness has been rising. Surveys find consumers’ attitudes vary by age and income, and by political affiliation, said Chris Jackson, who heads up polling at Ipsos.

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

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