NEWS ANALYSIS – Netflix hit another fiscal home run Jan. 22, reporting record 8.3 million subscriber growth in its most-recent financial period. The SVOD pioneer now has more than 117 million subscribers globally.
And it’s growing, with no end in sight. The company forecasting 6.4 million new subs in the first quarter, ending March 31.
Oh yeah, Netflix is profitable too – generating $186 million profit on revenue of nearly $3.3 billion – in 90 days! That’s nearly 33% year-over-year growth from the same regulatory period at the end of 2016.
The same day, CNBC reported that online TV competitors “Hulu With Live TV” and YouTube TV had generated 450,000 and 300,000 subscribers, respectively, since launching last year. They trail Dish Network’s pioneering Sling TV with 2 million subs and DirecTV Now with 1 million.
While Hulu, which is co-owned by Disney (Fox), Comcast and Time Warner (AT&T), and Google-owned YouTube haven’t officially revealed sub data, the numbers are telling.
When combined with HBO Now (2 million subs), Showtime OTT and CBS All Access (4 million), the entire online TV universe (including PlayStation Vue) barely edges Netflix’s most-recent quarterly sub growth.
“It actually shows you how poor the value proportion is for live TV,” BTIG Research Rich Greenfield told CNBC.
That’s an understatement.
Hulu’s original SVOD service has 17 million subs, which trails significantly to Netflix’s 55 million domestic subs. Amazon Prime Video, which is bundled with the Prime membership, reportedly has more than 40 million U.S. members – although it is unknown how many Prime members stream video.
Critics suggest Netflix’s domestic sub growth is waning, but CEO Reed Hastings disagrees, arguing the service’s U.S. market remains unchanged from management projections five years ago in the 60 -90 million range.
“So, we’ve got a way to go just to cross into the bottom of our expectation range,” Hastings said on the webcast.
In other words, it’s a Netflix world, everyone else is just living in it.