Netflix reaches a whopping 104m subscribers

Netflix and chill: Kevin Spacey, Danielle Brooks and Claire Foy star in original Netflix shows.

Shares in the streaming service shot up by 10% yesterday after the company announced a huge surge in subscriber numbers. Netflix has changed the way we watch TV — but is it for the better?

Netflix has had a good three months. On Monday, the company announced that it now had more than 100 million subscribers, and over half of those are from outside the USA. As if that wasn’t enough, last week it was nominated for 91 Emmy awards. As a result, shares in the company reached an all-time high yesterday.

The company began in 1997 by posting DVDs to its subscribers. But CEO Reed Hastings always thought that eventually people would watch films on the internet. And in 2007, Netflix launched a website where they could do just that.

In 2011, everything changed again. Netflix paid $100 million to produce two seasons of House of Cards, a political drama starring the well-known actor Kevin Spacey. It was the first time that Netflix created its own show.

The risk paid off. This year, Netflix is spending $6 billion on 1,000 hours of original content.

The approach has changed the way people watch TV. Around 70% of Americans now “binge-watch” shows, and over half of millennials prefer streaming to live TV broadcasts.

It has also changed TV itself. Netflix shows are given the freedom to tell stories without worrying about advertising or viewing figures.

Should we be happy with these changes?

Net-fix

“Yes!” say devoted Netflix fans. Out-of-touch executives were ruining TV; but at Netflix, power lies with the people who matter most: creators and viewers. The former are allowed to take risks, while the latter have more choice than ever before. And that’s not to mention how easy and fun it is to use.

No thanks, say others. Netflix is getting far too powerful. Its CEO admits that he wants you to binge-watch TV instead of going out, reading a book, or even sleeping. Its technology is designed to make that happen. But just because something is easy does not mean it is good for you.

You Decide

  1. Has Netflix been good for the world?

Activities

  1. Write a 200 word review of your favourite TV show.

Some People Say...

“Television is not art.”

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Netflix released its subscriber figures for the three months between April to June on Monday. The company is now valued at $78 billion, nine times as much as ITV and 1.5 as much as Fox.
What do we not know?
How long Netflix can keep up its astronomical rise. Other streaming services, like Amazon Prime and Hulu, are trying to emulate its success with their own original content.

Word Watch

Outside the USA
In January 2016, Netflix expanded to 190 countries — notable exceptions being China and Syria. It has begun producing content in other languages to appeal to local audiences.
Shares
Portions of a business which are open to the public to buy and sell. The prices of these shares fluctuate based on how the financial industry thinks they are performing. Yesterday, Netflix shares rose from $176 to $184.
70%
According to research by Deloitte in March 2016.
Over half
According to a report by Horowitz Research in May 2016.

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