Netflix Statistics in 2020: The Status of the Internet Streaming Giant

At the turn of the century, Netflix barely existed, at least when compared to the Netflix of today. Now Netflix stands as a cultural juggernaut that was (and still is) the cause of a massive shift in the way we consume television and films and is a content producer in its own right to rival any major network. And while other video and streaming services have made a name for themselves in the past decade, Netflix has set the standard to which they are compared.

Yet Netflix and its programs can still be measured by statistics and figures, just like the traditional entertainment industry. Much like how ratings dictate whether a show gets renewed, Netflix has its own metrics to watch both in general for the company and for individual shows to determine company policy moving forward and creative direction (and potential acquisitions) for the coming years. These are things that you want to know.

Here are many interesting facts and statistics about Netflix you may be interested to know:

Who Is Watching?

Tracking viewer and user numbers for Netflix has at times been tricky, yet there are methods of tracking the information and Netflix keeps close tabs on their userbase as well. This allows us to still provide you with information on how many people are watching Netflix and some information on demographic and usage patterns, such as the following:

  • The number of people that watch Netflix each month is staggering. While we’ll go over subscriber numbers in more detail later, consider the fact that there were more than 167.1 million subscribers as of September of last year.

    • Of those subscribers, 61 million are in the United States, and 106.1 million are international.

    • Another way to look at it is that 54 percent of United States households have some access to Netflix.

    • It is also important to note here that a subscription doesn’t necessarily mean just one person watching. It’s more akin to a household of potential viewers. Netflix considers its total pool of viewers to be around 300 million.

  • From an article on The Playlist, 37 percent of workers are binge-watching Netflix at work.

  • As of 2016, 70 percent of Netflix users binge-watched programming in some capacity.

  • As of 2017, 23 percent of users watched Netflix daily. This seems different from the daily television viewing habits of many and indicates that many people subscribe to watch (or binge) a few selected shows at their leisure.

    • Teens, perhaps with a little more time on their hands and a greater willingness to immerse themselves in the shows, are more likely to watch daily. About 37 percent of them, to be precise. The same source also states that teens are generally happier with Netflix and enjoy the content more compared with its main competitors.

Netflix Gender and Age Breakdown

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  • While the gender breakdown isn’t too surprising, it does show more women are watching Netflix than men, and the same source notes that women are more likely to binge-watch shows regularly.

  • While Netflix has expanded to work extremely well on a variety of devices, most people (81 percent) still view it mostly on their television sets as opposed to smaller yet more portable phone screens.

There is a lot more about viewership and viewer habits that we could dive into, but ultimately what you need to know is that people view Netflix in a variety of lights and watch it in many ways. It’s a universal service and one that effectively every audience uses.

Programming and Promises

To most people, who else is watching Netflix outside of friends doesn’t really matter, and the numbers outside of price don’t affect them, so why should they care? Instead, they care about the programming, the popular shows, and what might come out soon. While we can’t tell you the full lineup of what’s coming out next year, here are some interesting statistics and facts about their available programming:

  • The number of titles available on Netflix changes with the times and the rights they have. Rarely do they keep something available for streaming forever. Speaking just for movies, as of November 2019 the service has 3,849 titles available. In March of 2016, that number was 4335, and in March of 2014, there were a total of 6,494 films available.

  • Television series, which the platform has been focusing on more in recent years, perhaps as a way of keeping more dedicated subscribers, numbered 1,569 as of 2018.

  • Yet while the overall number of shows and movies might fluctuate from time to time based on the contracts and rights Netflix has negotiated (think about the migration of many films from the platform as Disney released its own streaming service), the number of Netflix-produced series, movies, and specials has naturally increased.

  • One event isn’t going to define even the quarter for the streaming giant, however. Netflix is willing to spend a great deal of money to make and acquire the programs it wants. While that deal is effectively no longer in effect, Netflix paid Disney $300 million for exclusive film streaming rights. Here are some other notable finds:

    • Netflix paid Chris Rock $40 million for two stand-up comedy specials that are roughly one hour long each. Similarly, they paid $60 million for exclusive streaming rights to three standup specials from Dave Chappelle.

    • Critically acclaimed but very expensive (reportedly one of the most expensive series ever made), The Crown cost roughly $13 million per episode to make.

    • While exact numbers remain under wraps, more recently Netflix poured a great deal of money and advertising space into trying to make The Witcher effectively the next Game of Thrones.

It can be difficult to keep track of everything on Netflix, and ultimately the average person isn’t supposed to. The company wants you to feel like there’s always something else to watch, and effectively there is. This fact, combined with their use of recommendation algorithms (which are constantly being improved), make Netflix a wholly unique programming experience we’re excited to see evolve in the coming decade.

Company Size and Market Share

While some people might measure Netflix by the number of programming options or viewers it has, it’s also a company and an institution that deserves a great deal of study. Let’s divert for a moment to see how large Netflix is compared to like services and a bit about the size and workings of the company.

  • The number of Netflix subscribers from quarter to quarter has never decreased. It has only been constant growth for the company, and while some quarters have been more disappointing than others, that’s only compared to their own internal goals of growth.

Number of Netflix Subscribers by Year

  • And while we talk about subscribers frequently, we nearly always refer to their online streaming service subscribers. In truth, they still operate a DVD rental plan, the model the company originally started with before streaming. And they even still have about 2.7 million subscribers to that plan as of 2019.

    • The number of DVD service subscribers is decreasing, and while it is part of its legacy, one can only wonder when Netflix will discontinue the service for the simple reason that few people would wish to rent DVDs anymore in comparison to streaming.
  • As of 2018, Netflix took up 15 percent of the world’s downstream bandwidth. That’s shockingly even more than YouTube and more than any other competitor or website.

  • According to MarketWatch, Netflix reported total income of $587 million in just the fourth quarter of

    1. Revenue during the quarter totals $5.47 billion. If you’re looking for a larger scale-view, we have just the chart for you:

Netflix Net Income by Year

  • However, what’s also interesting is that Netflix holds quite a bit of debt. A number to the tune of $10.4 billion as of 2018. However, you shouldn’t be alarmed. This is more a sign of the size of the company rather than any indication of financial trouble, given the cash flow the company has and its healthy investment situation.

  • Netflix employs about 7,100 people according to Forbes. However, given the nature of content creation, distribution, advertising, and other factors, freelancers, third-party studios, and others are likely get much of their livelihood and major projects funded by Netflix.

A Global Reach

Netflix is a global company, and they are constantly trying to expand their reach and achieve a foothold in effectively every country on Earth, to different degrees of success. While some could view Netflix as a host of separate services based on the divisions in content, here are some stats to display Netflix as a global monolith:

  • According to their website, Netflix streaming plans are available in some form or another in over 190 countries. For comparison, there are only 195 countries on earth depending on what you go by. Most notably it is not available in China. It is also not available in Syria, North Korea, or Crimea. Other than this, it’s effectively available wherever you can get internet, albeit with different content available in each region or country.

  • Whether you agree or disagree with the practice, VPNs are commonly used to access Netflix, with 29 percent of VPN users accessing Netflix to watch content not available in their region.

    • It is a common battle between Netflix and VPN service providers to one-up each other technologically, with VPN providers finding new ways to get around Netflix’s blocking measures, and Netflix introducing new ways to detect and block VPNs.
  • Netflix is available in more than 20 languages (and growing), which is generally more than enough to reach most of the world’s population. Dubbing and subtitle options may vary from title to title offered on the streaming service.

  • User penetration rates vary from country to country for Netflix and are liable to change quite quickly.

Top 10 Countries by Netflix Penetration

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  • Something notable is that despite quite a few countries having excellent digital networks and internet technology, there are no Asian countries that made the top ten. Given the vastness of this market, they will need to find ways to break into these markets to maximize their potential as a worldwide company.

While books could be written about the complexities of video streaming in a globalized world, complete with complex rights and censorship issues, the main thing we wanted to point out is that the Netflix of the United States is not necessarily the Netflix of the world and that in the future we might see both a host of international content (beyond which is already available) on the service as well as overall changes to match the tastes and requirements of other countries.

Notes, Milestones, and Goals

Here is some additional information about Netflix, and some ideas about where the company might be headed in the coming years:

  • While streaming service original programming was first scoffed at by many, shows and films produced by streaming services can and have become critical darlings, winning the following number of awards in the process.

Number of Awards Received by Netflix

  • Netflix might be known for its content, but what makes it work so well compared to competitors is its platform. In 2017, the company spent $1 billion on product development and technology improvements for its service, including everything from user interface improvements to improved algorithms to methods that make streaming more fluid and less prone to buffering.

  • How much content is on Netflix in terms of data? More than a Petabyte, and effectively more than a single person can watch in a lifetime. That is a thousand terabytes, and a single terabyte is more than enough storage space for the average home computer. Those are some busy servers.

  • Determining goals for the company is an almost pointless task, considering goals change with circumstances that we often cannot predict. Yet what we should be on the lookout for is whether Netflix takes more artistic risks or dives deeper into producing programming it can rely on. Ultimately it will do both, but the balance will be key.

    • Other goals for the company obviously include growth, technological improvements in streaming and elsewhere, and ways to better use data to learn what people want and show people what they might be best entertained by.

Conclusion

Netflix is a household name, but there is so much more behind it than just a handful of shows you enjoy and a decade of heavy growth. There is a lot to track, a lot to understand, and its trends and successes can be indicative of the future of video streaming (at least paid video streaming) for the foreseeable future. We hope you enjoy your favorite shows with them, or at least that the facts and figures listed above piqued your interest in to a side of popular culture not given enough attention.