Netflix goes ahead with 158 million subscribers and is not afraid of competition


Online video giant Netflix has taken a breather with a good growth in its subscriber base in recent months, and hopes to be a veteran who does not fear the arrival of new platforms rival, even when they can argue dense catalogs or broken prices.

Netflix has surpassed 158 million subscribers worldwide, and garnered more than $ 5 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2019, with the results well-publicized on Wednesday.

The group's share price was up nearly 9% in electronic trading after the Nasdaq (New York) closed, while it had been publicly traded in the second quarter for attracting fewer new subscribers than expected.

These numbers were highly anticipated as the month of November promises to be the beginning of a new era for the sector, with two new entrants of weight: Disney and Apple.

Reed Hastings, the boss of Netflix, posted his serenity during a conference to analysts.

"Since 2007-2008, we are all four (Hulu, Amazon Prime and YouTube) in intense competition, including with linear television (traditional). So there is no big change, "he said.

But his company now expects 26.7 million additional pay subscribers for the whole year 2019, instead of 28.6 million more in 2018.

A slowdown she attributes to uncertainties about the ability of its contents to attract new viewers, as well as new entrants, assimilated in a statement to "modest headwinds in the short term."

In one year, the platform has expanded its subscriber base by 21% worldwide, far below analysts' expectations of more than 161 million paying users.

In the United States, the service now has 60.6 million subscribers, not even 4 million more than a year ago.

"With the increase in competition, this bad figure for US subscribers indicates future difficulties," said Eric Haggstrom, an analyst at eMarketer. "Netflix's disappointing growth ahead of the new competitors is bad news for 2020 and beyond."

The California group earned $ 665 million in profits from July to September, a jump of 65% year on year. That does not prevent it from reinvesting massively its revenues, with a budget of 15 billion dollars for the contents in 2019.

In the last quarter, this will include a much-anticipated third season of "The Crown", the life of Elizabeth II, and many films, such as "The Irishman" (with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino), "Marriage Story "(with Scarlett Johansson) and" The Two Popes "(with Anthony Hopkins).

Investments needed both to remain the leader in the sector, but also to prepare to lose very popular content.

The series "Friends" leaves early 2020 at WarnerMedia, which launches HBO Max, and "The Office" returns to NBC Universal, which also prepares a competing offer (Peacock).

The platform also says goodbye to all the catalogs "Star Wars", Pixar and Marvel, which she broadcast a part so far and which belong to Disney.

This will be the major asset of the historical studio in the war for the attention of consumers. Disney + is banking on an impressive catalog of films and series, which will include all episodes of the famous series "The Simpsons", for less than 7 dollars per month, from November 12 in the United States.

Apple TV +, for its part, will have a limited offer of original content to its launch on November 1, but the brand at the apple can count on its experience in subscription services, a loyal consumer base (900 million of iPhone in service worldwide, according to analyst firm Wedbush) and an aggressive marketing offer: the subscription will cost less than $ 5 a month, half the price of the basic subscription to Netflix in the United States. United.

Netflix considers however that at this stage, the real battle is not played between the most recent actors, but against the television channels and the giants of Internet.

"There are about 2 billion active Facebook users and 2 billion active YouTube users. We are only a fraction of that. And these numbers continue to grow, "says Reed Hastings.

With AFP

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