In a Q1 shareholder letter Netflix revealed its subscriber base is expected to hit 100 million users this weekend. “It’s a good start,” the letter says.
With the current world population estimated at 7.5 billion, even assuming an average of two people for every Netflix account still leaves 7.3 billion people on this planet without Netflix. There’s something eye-opening in news that a service we consider utterly culturally ubiquitous actually doesn’t touch the vast majority of human beings on this planet.
Not that Netflix is a uniquely American pastime by any measure. Though the shareholder report doesn’t break down subscribers by country, Netflix claims to be “rapidly growing in Latin America, Europe, and North America.” Their current growth strategies target the remainder of the globe. “We are making good strides in improving our content offering to match local tastes in Asia, Middle East, and Africa, but have much progress to make, like in Latin America a few years ago.”
As such, Netflix intends to begin measuring their success on a global scale:
“For the last several years we’ve had flat operating margins due to established markets funding international expansion with every spare dollar we had. Because of that, the major indicators of our progress were member and revenue growth and U.S. contribution margins. Starting this year, we can be primarily measured by revenue growth and (global) operating margins as our primary metrics.”
But while billions still don’t binge-watch or Netflix and chill, that doesn’t mean millions of hours aren’t being wasted. As the shareholder letter notes, “since the launch of The Ridiculous 6, Netflix members have spent more than half a billion hours enjoying the films of Adam Sandler.”
Don’t worry, global capital will soon inflict Sandler on the rest of the planet, too.