In the last quarter before Apple TV+ and Disney+ launch (on November 1 and November 12, respectively), Netflix’s number of global paid subscribers climbed to 158 million, up 4.6% from Q2 2019′s 151 million subscribers.
The SVOD has gained 28 million subscribers since Q3 2018, a 21% increase. That quarter was a record breaker for Netflix with seven million new subscribers, a 31% increase compared to Q3 2017.
And despite all of the competition that’s set to roll out in the next few months, Netflix estimates it will grow its global streaming paid memberships to 165 million in Q4 2019. Apple TV+ is projected to reach anywhere from 20 million to 120 million subscribers by the end of 2020, while Disney+ is expected to garner as many as 82 million subscribers by 2024.
“The upcoming arrival of services like Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Peacock is increased competition, but we are all small compared to linear TV,” Netflix stated in its letter to shareholders. “The launch of these new services will be noisy. There may be some modest headwind to our near-term growth, and we have tried to factor that into our guidance.”
The number of viewers who used free trials in the US and internationally dropped from the year before, with an 8.6% decrease to 1.38 million in the US and an 18% decrease to 4.22 million internationally. Beginning next year, Netflix will no longer disclose data on the number of free trial members in financial reports.
The streamer’s revenue grew to US$5.2 billion, up 31% over the same period last year. In the US, streaming revenue was US$2.413 billion (up 24% compared to Q3 2018). Internationally, streaming revenue climbed 39% to US$2.760 billion compared to 2018. Starting in its Q4 2019 report Netflix will break down its revenue and membership numbers by territory, including data for APAC, EMEA and LatAm, and combining the US and Canada into one region. Its net income for the quarter was US$665 million (an increase of 65% from last year).
Forecasts for Q4 2019 are conservative, with Netflix predicting its US revenue will grow 1.7% to US$2.455 billion and its international revenue will increase 5.7% to US$2.918 billion. The company also estimates its operating income will drop to US$475 million, in what would be a 51% decrease from Q3 2019.
Moving forward Netflix reported it will continue to invest heavily in original films, both to moderate the pullback of second-run content from some studios and because its data shows that original content is driving user engagement.
In a move to stock up on original content before the streaming wars officially begin, Netflix has secured the rights to develop Jeff Smith’s comic book series Bone into an animated kids series. The comic book brand has been published in more than 30 countries and sold more than eight million copies in North America since it first launched in 1991. Netflix has not yet announced how long the series will be or when it’s set to be completed.
The streamer has also been growing its original international kids content catalogue in the last few months by greenlighting the preschool Hinduism series Ghee Happy earlier this month, and renewing its first kids original series from India Mighty Little Bheem (pictured) for a third season in August. The global SVOD also recently signed a new multi-year overall deal with California-based Kuku Studios to produce animated films and series.