Netflix is on track to hit 100 million subscribers worldwide as soon as this week, if the video streaming company's projections are correct.
More than a personal success for Netflix, being on the brink of a subscriber count of such a scale highlights the whiz-bang of video streaming services and, in particular, the monthly subscription model Netflix employs.
Netflix Succeeds With Its Subscription Model
Long exhausted with the cost of paying steep prices for premium cable, a colossal number of people have found — are finding, still — Netflix as more palatable to their TV and movie-watching preferences, especially since it only requires a relatively low monthly fee for users to watch anything on its library, including award-winning original films and TV series.
Netflix made the prediction Monday, April 17, amid the release of its Q1 earnings for 2017. The streaming service was able to net 5 million more subscribers during the first three months of the year, ending March with 98.7 million paying customers globally under its belt.
An analyst from Wedbush Securities said that the boom of smartphones and tablet devices paved the way for people to watch and stream video anywhere, especially with the ability to download content for offline watching. But to him, that's only one part of what Netflix is going for.
"But Netflix clearly had a vision before those devices became so ubiquitous," the analyst said.
More than half of Netflix's total subscriber count hails from the United States, but it's expected that majority of the total subscribers will be from overseas by the end of 2017. For the record, Netflix's overseas subscriber count totaled nearly 48 million by the end of March.
The 100 million mark is "a good start," according to CEO Reed Hastings in a letter reviewing the company's Q1 results.
Netflix Plays Catch Up To HBO
Though its success is notable, Netflix, even if it reaches the 100 million subscriber count, will still play catch up to HBO's 134 million subscribers globally, which includes customers paying for an on-demand iteration of HBO, inspired by the success of Netflix's business model.
Netflix's weapon, as with any streaming service, is its trove of original content. Award-winning shows span its library: from House of Cards to Stranger Things to Orange Is the New Black to the controversial and polarizing The OA, in addition to previously released films populating the catalog.
The attractive thing about the model is the fact that users don't pay for individual shows or bundles of the shows. They pay a fixed amount each month, and that alone opens Netflix's gates, allowing customers to watch anything they set their eyes on, with no catches. There's no limit to how many shows one can watch in a month or any similarly restrictive rules. It's an honest-to-goodness pay-up-and-watch-till-you-drop model.
Will Netflix Raise Prices Again?
There is always, however, the question of whether Netflix will try to up the prices again as its original programming production costs spike. In fact, it's expected to spend $6 billion for it this year. A logical move, to be sure, but one that could lessen its attractiveness in international markets, especially with Amazon's own Prime Video service fighting to appeal to Netflix's user base.
It'll be a tricky balancing act for Netflix, but it has to hope its service, along with its original programming, are reasons enough for people to stay, even if prices tick up.