Netflix has officially crossed the 200 million global subscriber threshold after adding another 8.5 million paid members in the fourth quarter.
For the full year, Netflix said it added a record 37 million paid memberships, reached $25 billion in annual revenue – up 24% year over year – and grew operating profit 76% to $4.6 billion. The company said that 83% of its net paid subscriber additions in 2020 came from outside the U.S. and Canada.
Netflix now has approximately 204 million subscribers worldwide.
Looking ahead, Netflix is projecting subscriber growth will normalize after a 2020 that experienced heightened demand in the first half due to the pandemic. The company expects to add 6 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2021 after drawing in 15.8 million the year prior.
“Since the start of 2018, our paid memberships have risen from 111 [million] to 204 [million] and our average revenue per membership has grown from $9.88 to $11.02, despite significant F/X headwinds. This approach has allowed us to organically increase revenue by $4-$5 billion annually over the past several years,” Netflix wrote in a letter to shareholders.
Operating margin for the fourth quarter dipped somewhat from the previous period and came in at 14.4% -- which was still well ahead of the year-ago quarter. Netflix said it’s anticipating full-year 2021 operating margin to come in around 20% though it warned of some lumpiness.
“Some years we’ll be a little over (like in 2020), some years a little under (like in 2021), but we are trying to keep on an average three percentage points per year long-term trajectory,” the company wrote.
As usual, Netflix continued to welcome competition from Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, Discovery+, Paramount+ and more while pointing out continued room for growth. The company said that even though Disney+ recorded a “massive first year” with 87 million subscribers, Netflix was still able to notch its biggest year ever for subscriber growth.