Netflix standing on the threshold of 100 million subscribers

Scott Stuber

HBO has 134 million subscribers worldwide.

Netflix is preparing to celebrate signing up the 100 millionth subscriber to its online video streaming service, suggesting that people are more interested in watching TV shows and movies than in streaming music, according to an Atlanta Journal Constitution report.

Reed Hastings, CEO of the US-listed streaming service, did an analyst interview in the wake of yesterday's first quarter results.

The subscription video on-demand giant added 4.95 million total streaming customers in the quarter, down from 6.74 million in the same quarter a year earlier and below its forecast of 5.20 million for Q1.

"It wasn't a strong quarter for Netflix in terms of content", said eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna. However, Netflix distinctly had a vision before those devices became so universal.

The company expected it would add about 8.15 million subscribers overall during the first half of this year as compared with 8.42 million in the same period in 2016.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that analysts had predicted that Netflix would add 5.49 million new users in the first quarter. additions slowed to 1.4 million from 1.9 million in the previous quarter.

Until recently, Netflix had competition in the United States only from Hulu, owned by major media companies like Disney, Comcast and Time Warner.

"We've said previously subsequent seasons of show that are very popular tend to have more impact on the business than introducing brand new IP [intellectual property]", explained Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos during the webcast.

Criterion Collection had made a decision to start its own streaming company with Turner Classic Movies, Filmstruck. "Our content is working", said Netflix CFO David Wells during Monday's earnings call. Netflix so far has answered the challenge by spending heavily on original shows such as "Stranger Things" and "House of Cards" and selling its service at a relatively low price.

"Our viewing is large and growing, but nowhere near as large as YouTube - so we have a lot of YouTube envy", said Hastings, noting Netflix logs about one billion hours per week. Netflix will spend more than $1 billion in marketing this year to drive customer acquisitions.

At the time of writing, Netflix shares were down 2.34 percent at $143.75. Amazon expanded Prime Video to over 200 regions past year.

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