Netflix Stats: Subscribers, Revenue, Growth and More

Netflix is a lot older than many realize. Founded in 1997, it started as a small DVD service that allowed users to order DVDs by mail before it expanded to the service as we know it today. In fact, many of its subscribers today might not even be familiar with the concept of DVD and mail! In 2007, a decade after it was founded, it started to transform its identity by offering its subscribers the option to stream content. 

Its history is actually quite interesting, but we won’t bore you with the nitty-gritty. Instead, in this article, we’ll share some of the most interesting and recent statistics about its subscribers, revenue, and growth over the years.    


Netflix Stats: Subscribers, Revenue & Growth:


1. It Has About 213.6 Million Paid Subscribers

As of the third quarter of 2021, it’s estimated that Netflix had more or less 213.6 million paid subscribers. To put this in perspective, Amazon Prime had only about 175 million subscribers at the same period, while Disney Plus had about 116 million, according to data shared by the Business of Apps. 


2. In 2020 Netflix Added Nearly 40 Million Paid Subscribers 

According to data shared by Statista, 2020 was the year with the highest year-on-year increase when looking at new paying subscribers for Netflix. In 2020, it managed to add 36.57 million paying subscribers to its current base to reach just over 200 million subscribers. In 2019, it managed to attract only 27.83 million new subscribers. 

When comparing 2021’s subscriber growth to the previous year, it’s still far off course to reach the same impressive number. According to Backlinko’s data, as of Q2 2021, it increased to 209.18 million subscribers. This works out to only 5.5 million new subscribers. However, during the same period last year, it already had 25 million new subscribers. It has also not picked up significantly in the third quarter yet. In Q3 2021, it only managed to acquire 4.42 million new subscribers.   


3. More Than Half of Paid Subscribers Share Their Account with Friends

The streaming giant hasn’t really done a lot to tackle the issue of subscribers sharing their passwords. According to KilltheCableBill.com, 54% of Netflix subscribers indicated that they have shared their password with a friend or relative. Most (25.6%) have shared it with a family member outside of their immediate family. Nearly 18% have shared it with a friend, while less than 10% of parents have shared it with their children who don’t live at home anymore. 


4. Its Net Income Was More Than 2.76 Billion in 2020

Source: statista.com

In 2020, Netflix’s total net income was 2.76 billion US dollars. Considering that the company reported a net income loss in 2000, 2001, 2002, the streaming service made a lot of progress during the past two decades. 

With regards to its total revenue for 2020, it was about 25 billion US dollars. It was up by more than 4 billion since the previous year. 


5. It’s Estimated That Netflix Will Spend 17+ Billion on Content in 2021

2020 was a good year for Netflix. Not only did they manage to get the most new paying subscribers, but its content spending was also down from the previous year. In 2020, content spending added up to about 11.8 billion US dollars. In 2019, it spent almost 14 billion US dollars. 

While their costs were down in 2020, a second decrease in row is not expected. Instead, estimates suggest that it will spend more than 17 billion US dollars on content in 2021. 


6. At the End of 2020, There Were 2,000+ Netflix Originals

Netflix is also home to original content that include TV shows, movies, documentaries, kids’ series, anime, and stand-up specials that are found only on its platform. It’s a key component of its offering and includes a host of well-known, popular titles. As of December 2020, it boasted more than 2,000 original titles. Its original content makes up about 35% of its entire library. 

Some of the titles that you’ve probably already watched include: 

  • Squid Game
  • The Mitchells vs. The Machines
  • Stranger Things
  • Bird Box
  • The Crown
  • House of Cards
  • Orange Is the New Black

7. Ozark Was the Most Streamed Netflix Original Series in 2020

Source: nielsen.com

According to the Tops of 2020: Nielsen Streaming Unwrapped report, Ozark was the Netflix Original series that was streamed the most in 2020. More than 30 billion minutes were streamed of this American crime drama that stars Jason Bateman. 

In second spot, it was Lucifer with nearly 20 billion minutes, followed by The Crown (16 billion minutes). 


8. The Office Was the Most Streamed Acquired Series in 2020

In 2020, The Office was the acquired series that was streamed the most. According to Nielsen’s data, The Office had more than 57 billion minutes streamed. It was followed by Grey’s Anatomy (39 billion minutes) and Criminal Minds (35 billion minutes). 


9. Frozen II Was the Most Streamed Movie in 2020

In 2020, Frozen II was the movie that was streamed the most. It had almost 15 billion minutes streamed. Moana came in second with just over 10 billion minutes and Secret Life of Pets 2 with 9 billion minutes.  

It’s interesting to note that all three of these movies are kids’ movies. This is most likely because kids have no issue to re-watch their favorite movie over and over and over again, much to the despair of their parents. 


10. Clueless Is the Most Popular Movie in 2021

According to data that Comparitech’s Time Spent Streaming tool collected, Clueless was the top-watched movie on Netflix in 2021, at the time of writing this article. 


11. Squid Game Is Netflix’s New #1

Source: statista.com

Netflix rarely publishes data about the viewership of their original shows on Twitter, but recently it revealed information about the huge response to Squid Game. As of 13 October 2021, more than 110 million Netflix accounts have streamed at least two minutes of Squid Game in the last 27 days. Based on this reception, it’s now officially Netflix’s biggest original series launch. Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s co-CEO and Chief Content Officer, commented that the company was taken aback by the popularity of this show, especially with regards to its reception across the globe. 

To put its popularity in perspective, the costumer drama Bridgerton, that’s in second position, was streamed by only 82 million accounts in its first 28 days after release. 

In fact, Squid Game was so popular that an internet service provider in South Korea, SK Broadband, sued Netflix for maintenance work and the costs of increased network traffic caused by this rapid increase in viewers. 

Perhaps more interestingly, it was also reported that a South Korean woman consulted a US law firm regarding possible compensation for suffering as her number was unintentionally used as a key element in the series. Consequently, she was flooded with countless calls. In an interview with Money Today, a South Korean newspaper, she shared that she had to delete over 4,000 numbers from her phone. 

It’s reported that Netflix has since then edited out her phone number. It was also reported that Netflix has offered her compensation of up to 5 million South Korean Won. Though, the company has not commented regarding any possible compensation claims. 


12. During the Quarantine, Users Streamed Over 3 Hours Per Day

According to information shared by KilltheCableBill.com, Netflix users streamed about 3.2 hours of video daily when they had to quarantine at home. This was up by about an hour since the previous year. 

If you convert this to data usage, KilltheCableBill.com estimates that the average user used almost 10GB of data per day during the quarantine to stream content. 


13. It Saved the Average User Almost 60 Hours of Commercials in 2020

A study that was completed in the middle of 2020 suggests that Netflix probably saved the average US subscriber 58 hours of commercials. As the average US subscriber streamed about 3.2 hours per day and there are about 18 minutes of commercials per hour, this works out to almost an hour of commercials per day that they didn’t have to watch. 


14. In 2020 the US Lost More Than 2,000 Titles

While the Netflix library is steadily growing (according to JustWatch it has about 3,600 movies and 1,800 TV shows), a number of titles have also left the service. In fact, almost a third of US subscribers indicated in a survey that Netflix losing popular shows like The Office was their biggest complaint. 

A similar issue that frustrated US subscribers was Netflix original shows being canceled. However, less than 17% indicated this as their biggest complaint. 


15. Switzerland and Denmark Are the Least Cost-effective Countries

While Netflix has subscribers all over the world, if you’re in Switzerland or Denmark, subscribing to Netflix isn’t really great value for money. After taking into consideration the smaller library size, yet the expensive monthly cost, Comparitech worked out that Danish and Swiss customers can pay about 120% more per title with the basic plan compared to other customers from other countries. 

Other countries where Netflix offers less value for money are:

  • Greece
  • Sweden
  • Portugal 
  • Norway
  • Finland
  • Spain
  • Belgium 

If you’re from Italy, Austria or Germany the basic plan can still offer value, but if you sign up for the standard plan or premium plan, you’ll get less bang for your buck.  


16. Argentinian Customers Get the Best Value for Money

On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re in Argentina, you’ll get the best value for money if you sign up for a basic or standard plan. While a premium plan offers slightly better value to customers from Turkey, Argentina is the second cheapest place to sign up for a premium plan.  

To put it in perspective, in Argentina Netflix can be about 80% cheaper than in the UK and US. 

Other countries where Netflix offers better value for money are:

  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • South Africa
  • India
  • Peru
  • Mexico
  • Philippines
  • Canada
  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • Indonesia

17. It Received 160 Emmy Nominees in 2020

For the 72nd annual Emmy Awards, Netflix received a record 160 nominations. The record for the most nominations was previously held by HBO that received 137 nominations in 2019. 

Some of the nominations included:

  • Jason Bateman was nominated for Best Actor in a Drama Series for his role in Ozark 
  • Olivia Colman was nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series for her role in The Crown 
  • Julia Garner was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Ozark (she was also announced as the winner)
  • The Crown, Ozark, and Stranger Things were nominated for Best Drama Series

18. It Received 36 Oscar Nominations in 2021

Netflix continued its success on the red carpet in 2021 when it received 36 Oscar nominations. No other distributor managed to get as many nominations for this period. The movie Mank received the most nominations – 10. On the night of the ceremony, it won Oscars for Best Production Design and Cinematography. 

Netflix number of Oscar nominations was up by 12 from last year’s tally. 


19. The Majority of Netflix Subscribers Are From North America

Most Netflix subscribers come from the United States of America and Canada. These two countries alone accounted for more than 74 million of its total subscribers. This works out to a share of about 35% of Netflix’s global subscriber base. 

In terms of revenue, Business of Apps calculates North America’s contribution to Netflix’s revenue at about $11.45 billion.  

Its second biggest region is Europe, the Middle East and Africa. These regions accounted for about 66.7 million subscribers in 2020. Latin America had 37.5 million followed by Asia-Pacific with 25.4 million. 


20. Hispanic Americans Make Up Its Biggest Audience

When looking at the ethnicity of its viewers, a survey completed in March 2020 in the United States indicated that more than 60% of Hispanic Americans answered that they have subscribed to Netflix. Only 51% of white respondents indicated that they have a current Netflix subscription. That being said, out of all the ethnic groups interviewed, more Hispanic adults indicated that they’ve actually never heard of the brand. 

Though, a survey completed by Morning Consult/The Hollywood Reporter paints a different picture. In February 2021, they collected responses from US adults about streaming platforms. According to their data, 65% of respondents who subscribed to Netflix were white. Only 31% classified themselves as Hispanic or Black.


21. Its Largest Share of Subscribers Are Millennial

According to data shared by a Morning Consult/The Hollywood Reporter survey, millennials account for a third of its subscriber base. Generation X accounted for its second biggest share (26%), while 22% were baby boomers. So, with regards to age, it’s pretty much popular across all age groups. 

There’s also no real difference with regards to gender. It’s only slightly more popular among females who had the highest share of subscribers (52%). 


22. It’s Most Popular Among Urban/suburban Democrats

With regards to political affiliations, Netflix is more popular among democrats. Just over 40% of respondents who participated in a Morning Consult/The Hollywood Reporter survey indicated that they’re democrat, followed by independents (33%), and republicans (25%).

The vast majority of its subscribers also reside in urban or suburban areas. Only 23% indicated that they’re from a rural area. 


23. Netflix Subscribers Watch Sport the Least Often

In a survey completed by a Morning Consult/The Hollywood Reporter, almost a third (29%) of its subscribers indicated that they never watch sport. Only 13% shared that they watch sport about once per week. 


24. It Has an Equal Share of Male and Female Employees

As of 2020, the company employed about 9,400 full-time employees. This is more than double the number of employees it had four years ago. What’s more, it has transformed from being mainly a US-based company to an international enterprise. 

As of Q2 2021, Statista reports that the company boasted an equal share of male and female employees. According to its data, 47.5% identified as female, 46.1% identified as male and 0.9% listed an additional gender identity. Though, this ratio didn’t apply to all its different departments. For example, in its tech department, 60% of the employees were male, while its Creative and Corporate segment had more female employees.

With regards to ethnicity specifically, as of Q2 2021, 24% of US employees were Asian. More than 8% were Hispanic.   


Wrapping Things Up

Unlike one of its original series, House of Cards, that tumbled when a number of allegations of sexual assault against Kevin Spacey surfaced, it’s safe to say that Netflix won’t follow the same path. Looking at these statistics, Netflix looks pretty secure. Its subscriber growth is impressive and the content that it has produced even got the attention of power players in entertainment. 

That being said, stranger things have happened and with Apple, Amazon, Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max to name only a few all fighting for a bigger market share, it will be interesting to watch how it unfolds in the next few years. There’ll probably be a documentary about it soon. One thing that is sure is that as long as binge-watching remains one of our favorite pastimes, there’ll always be a need for on-demand streaming services.    

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Netflix produce a lot of original content?

Netflix’s original content makes up more than a third (35%) of its entire content library, according to What’s on Netflix. This includes TV shows, movies, documentaries, kids’ series, anime, and stand-up specials that are found only on its platform. It’s a very important component of its offering and includes a host of well-known, popular titles like Squid Game, The Mitchells vs. The Machines, Stranger Things, and Orange Is the New Black. At the end of 2020, it boasted more than 2,000 original titles. 

How popular is Squid Game?

As of 13 October 2021, over 110 million Netflix accounts have streamed at least two minutes of Squid Game in the last 27 days, making it officially Netflix’s biggest original series launch. It’s so popular that the increase in viewers motivated an internet service provider in South Korea, SK Broadband, to sue Netflix for maintenance work and the costs of increased network traffic. 

What are some common issues that subscribers have with Netflix?

The biggest issue that subscribers have with Netflix is that it loses popular shows, like The Office. Almost a third of US subscribers shared in a survey that this was their biggest complaint. Other common issues include Netflix original shows being canceled and the price going up. The same survey also found that nearly 20% of subscribers didn’t really have any complaints regarding their Netflix service. 

Where is Netflix the cheapest?

If you’re in Argentina, you’ll get the best value for money if you sign up for a Netflix basic or standard plan. While a premium plan offers slightly better value to people from Turkey, Argentina is the second cheapest place to sign up for a Netflix premium plan. As a matter of fact, in Argentina Netflix can be about 80% cheaper than in the UK and US, according to Comparitech. Other countries where Netflix offers better value for money are Brazil, Colombia, and South Africa.

Which country has the most Netflix subscribers?

The majority of Netflix subscribers come from the United States of America and Canada. These two countries alone accounted for more than 74 million of its total subscribers. This works out to a share of about 35% of Netflix’s global subscriber base. In terms of revenue, Business of Apps calculates North America’s contribution to Netflix’s revenue at about $11.45 billion. Its second biggest region is Europe, the Middle East and Africa, followed by Latin America.