After it raised the price of two of its three plans last October, one might have expected Netflix’s subscriber numbers to slow down, yet the opposite happened: the fourth quarter was the biggest in the streaming service’s history.
In a forecast released yesterday, Netflix said it added a record 8.3 million new subscribers during Q4 2017. That’s up 18 percent from the same period in 2016, which saw a then-record 7.05 million new customers join. 1.9 million new members came from the US, while 6.4 million are from international markets.
The subscriber figures mean Netflix beat Wall Street estimates for the quarter, while revenue of $3.29 billion and earnings of 41 cents per share were in line with analysts’ expectations. Shares reached a record at $227.79 during trading on Monday, valuing the company at $98.4 billion. They rose 7.8% after hours, pushing its value past $100 billion for the first time.
The new signups brought Netflix’s total number of worldwide subscribers to 117.6 million last quarter, of which around 55 million are from the US. What's especially impressive about this is that the company raised the prices of its standard and premium plans during this period. While they only increased by one dollar, even small rises often discourage people from joining.
“We had a beautiful Q4, completing a great year as internet TV expands globally,” wrote the company.
Netflix singled out one of its original productions, the Will Smith fantasy Bright, as being a factor behind the quarter’s success. While it wasn’t a hit with critics, many viewers (including me) enjoyed it, and the movie became one of its most viewed originals ever, leading to a sequel that is now in production. The Punisher, Stranger Things, Black Mirror, and the excellent Mindhunter were also singled out for praise.
Netflix isn’t slowing down when it comes to investing in the future. Throughout 2018, it plans to spend between $7.5 billion and $8 billion on original content, $2 billion on marketing—up from $1.3 billion last year—and $1.3 billion on technology and development.
“Given our track record of content investments helping to increase growth, we are excited about the growth in future years from the increased investments we are making in original content this year,” the company said.