Netflix has released numbers for some of its films and series — a show of strength to investors ahead of upcoming streaming wars with Disney and AT&T.
Bird Box, which Netflix previously reported accrued more than 45 million unique account streams seven days after its release, has now surpassed 80 million views, according to CEO Reed Hastings’ letter to investors. You, a Lifetime series that Netflix has purchased the rights to, will surpass 40 million household streams within the first four weeks of its release. The same goes for new Netflix original series, Sex Education. Hastings’ letter states that Netflix accounts for 10 percent of all television viewing in the United States.
It’s an impressive feat, and one that Hastings really wants to hammer home for investors as the streaming wars gear up. Disney is planning to launch its standalone streaming service, Disney+, this fall; WarnerMedia’s streaming service will also launch later this year; NBCUniversal and Comcast are working on their own service, and that doesn’t even account for streaming platforms like CBS All Access and Hulu — the latter of which has seen spectacular growth over the last year. Hastings isn’t worried.
“We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite more than HBO,” Hastings’ letter reads. “Our focus is not on Disney+, Amazon or others, but on how we can improve our experience for our members.”
Hastings notes that other streaming services, like Hulu, also don’t have the international advantage that Netflix does. The majority of Netflix’s subscribers are based internationally, and the company is gearing up to invest even more heavily in original content around the world. Disney CEO Bob Iger has made clear his ambitions to bring Hulu international once the company gains a controlling majority stake when its acquisition of 21st Century Fox closes, but Netflix is staying committed to its strategy of original content to keep subscribers happy and grow its base.
That means providing users with content just as good as exclusive originals and fan favorites that may exist only on services like Disney+. Hastings acknowledges that content owners might choose to keep their movies and shows exclusive to their own platforms in the months and years ahead.
“We are ready to pay top-of-market prices for second run content when the studios, networks, and producers are willing to sell, but we are also prepared to keep our members ecstatic with our incredible original content if others choose to retain their content for their own services,” Hastings said.
Netflix has added approximately 9 million subscribers since last quarter, but is expecting a bit of a slow down following recent news that subscription prices are set to increase in the United States. Still, even that is part of Hastings’ plan to invest in content.
“Price is all relative to value,” Hastings said in late 2017, the last time American subscribers saw an increase. “We’re continuing to increase the content offering and we’re seeing that reflected in viewing around the world.”
Netflix is gearing up to launch even more original series and films in 2019.