Netflix has revealed that 64 million subscriber households streamed the third season of Stranger Things in its first four weeks.
The sci-fi drama series’ third season debuted on July 4th, while the show was renewed for a fourth season in September.
The viewership numbers come as part of Netflix’s third quarter of 2019 earnings report. In Q3, Netflix generated $5.2 billion USD ($6.87 billion CAD) in revenue, up 31 percent from the third quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, operating income doubled year-over-year to $1 billion USD ($1.3 billion CAD).
Further, Netflix reported 6.8 million new subscribers in Q3, which was above the 6.1 million added in the prior Q3. While this was slightly less than its forecasted seven million, Netflix says it still marks an all-time high for a third quarter.
Notably, Netflix brought in only 517,000 paid subscribers in the U.S., compared to the 802,000 that analysts had expected. Meanwhile, international paid subscribers rose by 6.26 million, versus the 6.05 million that was projected by Wall Street.
In addition to the new season of Stranger Things, Netflix attributed Q3’s success to strong viewership of shows like crime drama series Unbelievable (watched by 32 million households in its first 28 days), psychological thriller film Secret Obsession (viewed by 40 million households in its first four weeks) and family film Tall Girl (streamed by 41 million households in its first 28 days).
Overall, Q3 was a particularly important quarter for Netflix for multiple reasons. For one, Q2 2019 saw the streaming giant add only 2.7 million new subscribers — far less than the five million estimate set by analysts. Exceeding expectations in this quarter will no doubt help put Netflix back on track.
More crucially, Q3 marks Netflix’s final quarter before two major players enter the streaming market — Apple and Disney. The former is set to launch its Apple TV+ video streaming service in Canada on November 1st at a cost of $5.99 CAD/month. Meanwhile, Disney+ will debut in Canada on November 12th for $8.99/month.
However, Netflix continues to say it’s not concerned about the rising competition. In a note to investors, Netflix reiterated previous comments that it sees other forms of entertainment like “linear TV” or video games as more competition than rival streaming services.
“Today we believe we’re less than 10 percent of TV screen time in the U.S. (our most mature market) and much less than that in mobile screen time,” wrote Netflix. “Many are focused on the ‘streaming wars,’ but we’ve been competing with streamers (Amazon, YouTube, Hulu) as well as linear TV for over a decade.”
Although Netflix noted that Apple TV+, Disney+ and other impending services represent “increased competition,” the company said “[they] are all small compared to linear TV.” Further, Netflix acknowledged that the new competitors “have some great titles (especially catalogue titles)” but lack “the variety, diversity and quality of new original programming that we are producing around the world.”
Netflix conceded that these services may cause “some modest headwind to our near-term growth,” but it expects to “continue to grow nicely given the strength of our service and the large market opportunity.”
As an example of this, Netflix noted that its growth in Canada is “nearly identical” to its growth in the U.S., even though rival streamer Hulu is only available in the latter country.
Looking forward to Q4, Netflix pointed to the release of several major shows and movies, including The Witcher fantasy epic starring Henry Cavill, Martin Scorsese’s highly-buzzed gangster drama The Irishman with a de-aged Robert DeNiro and Michael Bay’s action heist flick 6 Underground featuring Vancouver’s own Ryan Reynolds.
Starting in the fourth quarter, Netflix will also break out revenue and membership numbers into several regions, including the U.S. and Canada, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa and Latin America.
Image credit: Netflix