Netflix has become the largest beneficiary of the COVID-19 pandemic as the company raked in 15.77 million new subscribers bringing a grand total to 182.9 million in the first quarter of 2020.
As of the end of the first quarter, the number of paid subscribers around the world was 187.9 million, an increase of 22.8% from a year ago. Initially, Netflix predicted that the number of new subscribers will increase by 7.1 million this quarter, but this is an estimate before COVID-19. In a letter to shareholders, Chief Executive Officer of Netflix Lead Hastings said, "Home quarantine temporarily accelerated membership growth."
Renting and streaming video is becoming popular, and the market has become more competitive with the debut of Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) Disney+ and upcoming rivals This has pushed Netflix to look for growth overseas. The company’s biggest expansion from January through March came from Europe, where it added 4.4 million new customers. The most popular Netflix plan in the United States costs $13, nearly double the $7-per-month cost for Disney+.