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Amritsar, NFA Post: Notwithstanding recent price hikes, over-the-top content platform Netflix topped 200 million paid subscribers in the last quarter of 2020, thanks to the viewers stuck in their homes due to the pandemic.

The streaming platform added around 8.5 million paid subscribers during the quarter to reach a total of 203 million, according to the company’s quarterly earning update.

“Covid-19 has accelerated that big shift from linear to streaming entertainment,” Netflix Chief Financial Officer Spencer Neumann said during an earnings call.

He added that hence the underlying long-term looks good.

Paid membership rose 23% during the final quarter of 2020 when compared with the same period a year ago, but average revenue per membership was flat, according to the company.

Netflix had increased rates marginally in the US late last year, but the majority — around 83% — of its new subscribers were from outside North America, the earnings report showed.

The report showed that for the full year, the platform added a record 37 million paid subscribers.

Profits during the last quarter slumped to $542 million, as against $587 million in the corresponding period a year ago. Overall revenue, however, rose 21.5% on year to $6.6 billion.

Netflix in a letter to its investors said that the company’s cash flow was strong enough that it will no longer borrow money to pay for operations, and was also considering starting to buy back shares.

“We’re enormously grateful that in these uniquely challenging times we’ve been able to provide our members around the world with a source of escape, connection and joy while continuing to build our business,” Netflix said in the letter to investors.

Netflix Originals

The Silicon Valley based company has invested heavily in original shows and films to make itself a must-have service in the increasingly competitive streaming market.

“It’s super impressive what Disney has done,” Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings said on the earnings call.

“It is going to be great for the world that Disney and Netflix are competing show by show, movie by movie,” he said.

Netflix executives pointed out that their productions are back up and running in most regions after being affected by the pandemic.

Netflix claimed to be having more than 500 titles in post-production or being readied for release on the platform, with the plan being to launch at least one new original film weekly.

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