Netflix adds almost 16 million subscribers in Q1 thanks to the coronavirus pandemic keeping everyone at home

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Netflix saw an unprecedented surge in membership in the first quarter of 2020, thanks in large part to people being forced to stay home and binge-watch TV amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Thanks to shows like “Tiger King” and other popular pieces of content available within its library, people have been passing the time while stuck inside by streaming shows and movies on Netflix, which has led to massive numbers. In its quarterly shareholder letter, the company revealed that it surged with more than 15.77 million paid streaming customers in the Q1 timeframe. This shatters previous analyst estimates that were projected prior to the pandemic.

However, the company urged caution from investors as the high numbers are expected to be temporary.

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Thanks to people staying in and watching things like 'Tiger King,' Netflix saw its subscribers increase amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Thanks to people staying in and watching things like 'Tiger King,' Netflix saw its subscribers increase amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Netflix)

According to Variety, Netflix said it had 182.9 million paid subscribers globally as of the end of Q1, which is up 22.8 percent from last year. This overshot estimates that previously stated it would only add 7.0 million subscribers in that quarter.

In its shareholder letter, the company cautioned that the COVID-19 pandemic is a double-edged sword. It noted that subscribers are going up at a time when most of its original productions are at a standstill due to social distancing guidelines and the shutdown of non-essential businesses.

“Hopefully, progress against the virus will allow governments to lift the home confinement soon,” Variety reports the company said in the shareholder letter. “As that happens, we expect viewing and growth to decline.”

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Netflix saw its subscribers increase due to the coronavirus shutdown.

Netflix saw its subscribers increase due to the coronavirus shutdown. (Photo/Jenny Kane)

In other words, although Yahoo Finance reports it beat analyst estimates by roughly 92 percent, the results won’t last long and come with their own set of consequences. The outlet notes that while Netflix believes it can weather the coronavirus pandemic without producing new content thanks to its impressively large existing library of content, it could run into issues very soon as the streaming marketplace gets more crowded.

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In addition to Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, several other companies are getting into the streaming game in the near future, such as HBO Max and NBC’s Peacock. All of the new content providers plan to launch with original content that was produced prior to the shutdown, making them potentially more enticing to new subscribers.