Netflix just had its best fourth quarter yet, adding 13.1 million subscribers.
The dominant streamer now has more than 260 million global subscribers.
Netflix's growth widens its lead over newer entrants like its closest streaming rival, Disney+.
Netflix is still riding high while other streamers struggle to catch up — and its fourth-quarter earnings report is further evidence of its lead.
The dominant streamer just had its best Q4, adding 13.1 million global subscribers for a total of more than 260 million.
This growth widens its lead over newer competitors like Disney+, its closest streaming rival, which trails far behind with 150 million global subscribers.
Its dominance also shows up in video viewing share. Nielsen data shared by Netflix showed the streamer had 8% share in the US in December, versus 5% for Disney+/Hulu and 3% for Amazon's Prime Video.
Netflix's most recent quarter shows how the streamer has managed to stay on top despite an ever-changing and increasingly competitive entertainment business.
It's done it by churning out hit after hit, diverse titles that appeal to nearly every taste out there.
Netflix pointed to additional Nielsen data showing that in 2023, it had the No. 1 original TV series for 48 out of 52 weeks. And amidst questions in Hollywood about the future of its film strategy, especially given the upcoming exit of its longtime film chair, Scott Stuber, Netflix also boasted the No. 1 original film for 41 out of 52 weeks.
Its fourth-quarter blockbusters included "Squid Game: The Challenge" and "The Crown" finale; Netflix also has benefited hugely from licensing shows from competitors that have thrown in the towel on keeping their content exclusively for their own services.
And while not every title is a hit, Netflix has enough that it's reached utility status with subscribers. For proof, look at Netflix's churn rate, which is by far the lowest of all the streamers. That means people are far less likely to cancel Netflix than other services.
Netflix needs fresh content to keep people coming back, which doesn't come cheap; it's planning to spend $17 billion on new shows and movies in 2024 and just inked a $5 billion deal, the Wall Street Journal first reported, to stream WWE Raw. The streamer is also moving aggressively to build gaming and advertising sales businesses.
The company's big growth numbers may not continue. Netflix said it doesn't expect to add as many subscribers in the first quarter as it did in Q4, though it still expects to add more than it did in the first quarter of 2023.
Analysts have questioned how much more growth Netflix can get out of its cheaper ad tier and password-sharing crackdown.
But for now, it's no contest: No one has been able to catch Netflix.
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