Tuesday 19 January 2021 9:51 pm

Netflix beats estimates as lockdown reels in 8.5m new subscribers

Netflix hurtled past Wall Street estimates for the holiday season, the company announced today, as it reeled in record numbers of new customers stuck at home during lockdowns around the globe.

The US firm added more than 8.5m paid subscribers in the four months to 31 December, beating analysts’ expectations of 6.1m.

Shares rose 11.4 per cent to $559.1 in extended trading, as the group announced it now has more than 203m paid subscribers around the world. Netflix shares have hiked more than 50 per cent over the last 12 months.

Revenue rose to $6.6bn (£4.8bn) from during the quarter, up from $5.5bn in the previous quarter and edging past estimates of $6.63 billion.

The streaming titan was helped by the closure of movie theatres owned by cinema giants Cineworld, Odeon and AMC around the world. 

Many movie studios have delayed both production and release of major films, including new James Bond film No Time To Due and Avatar 2, which in turn drove up demand for Netflix’s original shows and films.

The platform said originals such as Bridgerton and The Queens Gambit helped boost profit over the festive season. 

However, net income fell to $542.2m, or $1.19 per share, down from $587m per share, a year earlier.

“We’re approaching nearly a year of on-off lockdown restrictions and, for many of us, the only form of entertainment has been watching TV at home. Central to that has been streaming services like Netflix with people racking up hours of binge viewing, which the latest figures underline,” said Alistair Thom, chief executive of free-to-air TV provider Freesat.

“However, as things ‘get back to normal’ and other entertainment options resume, Netflix and its competitors will be hoping to hold onto their newly expanded audiences and that they retain their current viewing patterns.”