There are no two ways about it: Netflix is absolutely dominating the streaming video market. In 2020 alone, Netflix added 37 million new subscribers, over 80% of which came from outside the US. For perspective, Netflix competitor Hulu ended 2020 with over 36.6 million subscribers in total. While researching the use of VPNs to securely access Netflix, we struggled to find a really comprehensive source of Netflix statistics, facts and figures so decided to compile our own.
Netflix is a fairly multi-faceted company. With so much attention pouring its way, industry observers have been collecting reams of data on the company for over a decade now. Most Netflix facts and stats focus heavily on the company’s growth numbers and market value, but there’s much more to the streaming service than that. And not all of it paints a rosy picture for the company.
What numbers matter most for the streaming giant? Here are 50+ Netflix stats and facts that reveal just how big Netflix has become.
1. Despite more competition, Netflix still has the largest subscriber count in 2021
While the #2 streaming service Amazon Prime may be able to boast about its equally large subscriber base (estimated at 200 million in April 2021), it’s unclear how many of its Amazon Prime members are using its Prime Video service. In April 2021, Netflix announced it had 208 million subscribers now turning to Netflix worldwide.
2. 73 million US adults have a Netflix subscription
Although Netflix now combines the US and Canada into its regional subscriber count totals, the US has 74.38 million Netflix subscribers as of Q4 2020. When one takes into account the number of US adults over 18 (209 million), that comes down to an estimated 35% of US adults currently subscribing to Netflix.
3. 41% of Netflix users are watching without paying, thanks to password and account sharing
According to KillTheCableBill, the majority of Netflix subscribers now share their account details with others. Friends account for almost 18% of sharing, while family members make up the bulk of the rest.
This backs up a 2019 MoffetNathonson survey that found that 41% of Netflix users aren’t paying for their own account. According to the survey, 27% watched using the paid subscription of someone in their household, while 14% used a password shared with them from a friend or family member from outside their home. Given the amount of time we all spent at home in 2020, it isn’t particularly surprising that this number has risen.
4. The company is older than most users realize
Media attention on Netflix has taken off in the past decade, but the streaming service was under the radar for years before that. The following stats chart the company’s most notable milestones as it grew from a small DVD service to a streaming media giant. Netflix was founded in 1997. The company’s site launched a year later.
5. Netflix dominates despite struggling in its early years
Initially, Netflix only received $2 million in venture capital funding during its Series A funding round from Reed Hastings. Just three years later, during its Series E funding round, it only raised $50 million with 3 backers.
6. Netflix was incorporating more technology than its competitors much earlier on
The company began offering a subscription-based DVD-by-mail service in 1999. In 2000, Netflix began using a combination of collected big data and analytics tools to recommend videos for users to rent.
After reaching 4 million subscribers in 2004, and realizing the potential higher-bandwidth internet could provide, Netflix launched online video streaming in 2007 alongside its dominant DVD-by-mail option.
7. Netflix was one of the first streaming services available as an app on different devices
Netflix moved beyond web browsers in 2008, partnering with companies to stream on Xbox 360, Blu-ray disc players, and TV set-top boxes. In 2009, Netflix landed on the PS3 and smart TVs. By 2010, Netflix rounded the bases for streaming devices, launching on Apple’s iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Nintendo Wii and more.
8. Netflix was the first true international streaming service of its kind
Netflix officially branched out to international markets in 2010 with its Canadian launch. 2011 marked a major year for Netflix as the streaming service dove further into the international market, launching in Latin America and the Caribbean. Netflix finally migrated to Europe in 2012, officially becoming available in the UK, Ireland and Nordic countries.
Netflix continued its march across the globe in 2015, finally launching its service in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and other locations. As of 2021, Netflix is available worldwide except for a select few countries.
9. The company is responsible for the ongoing streaming wars
In 2013, Netflix launched its first three big-budget original series, House of Cards, Hemlock Grove, and Orange Is the New Black. The streaming service pulled in 31 primetime Emmy nominations for its original shows.
10. Its popularity caused major ISPs to throttle Netflix streaming
In 2014, after loads of complaints from customers, Comcast and Netflix reached a “mutually beneficial” agreement to help stop throttling issues. Reports state that Netflix paid Comcast to end the dispute.
11. Netflix set the stage for an aggressive fight against region-hopping through VPNs and other proxies
Even as Netflix was available worldwide, the company began to aggressively crackdown on region hoppers. On February 29, 2016, reports began rolling in that the streaming service was blocking virtual private networks (VPNs) and other proxy services.
However, in 2020, things changed. Now, if Netflix detects that a user is connected to a VPN, they are only shown titles that they would normally be able to watch in their home country. Of course, Netflix’s VPN-detection methods aren’t infallible, so there’s something of an arms race between the company and VPN providers.
12. Netflix toppled HBO’s long-running Emmy nomination streak
In 2017, Netflix won its first Oscar. The service’s original content The White Helmets won in the Best Documentary Short Subject category. It followed up with another for Best Documentary Feature (American Factory) in 2020. Further, Laura Dern won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Netflix Original Marriage Story.
As of 2018, Netflix officially beat HBO’s 17-year-long run in Emmy nominations. The streaming service received 160 Emmy nominations in 2020, up starkly from the 90 it received in 2017. As of 2020, Netflix has received 225 Emmy nominations, with 43 awards won.
13. The company’s Academy Awards (Oscars) showing is also top-level
In 2017, Netflix won its first Oscar. The service’s original content The White Helmets won in the Best Documentary Short Subject category. In 2021, Netflix leads the pack with 36 Oscar nominations, 10 of which belong to its film Mank.
14. Netflix houses massive amounts of server space to feed our streaming habits
In 2013 Netflix required massive amounts of fast storage and fast networking for streaming. At that time, it had 100 to 150 terabytes per server, which has undoubtedly grown massively since then. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stated in 2015 that users had streamed 42.5 billion hours of video through the service.
15. Netflix users watch and use a lot of streaming data
As of 2020, Netflix users watched an average of 3.2 hours of video per day through the service — that’s 6 billion collective hours per month! If we assume that each hour of streaming uses 3GB of data, this means we’re each using around 288 GB per month on Netflix alone. Of course, this assumes you’re watching HD video; if you prefer to stream in 4K, your data usage will likely be significantly higher.
16. ‘Clueless’ is the most popular Netflix movie in 2021, and ’13 Reasons Why’ is the most popular TV series
Based on data collected from our Time Spent Streaming tool, which allows Netflix users to upload their Netflix data to get information about their viewing habits, the early 2000s hit Clueless was the top-watched film available on Netflix. But when it came to TV series, most people turned to the controversial 13 Reasons Why.
17. The average Netflix user has watched 49 days worth of TV shows and movies since creating an account
Our Time Spent Watching tool uncovered that the average Netflix user has put in over 1,130 hours, or 49 days, worth of content watching since opening their account. The majority of that (83%) was spent watching TV series. And the biggest binge-watchers? Peruvians, who have watched about 80 days’ worth, way above the average.
18. The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic caused an unprecedented amount of Netflix streaming
In a letter to shareholders, Netflix revealed that it had gained an additional 15.77 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2020 alone as billions of people around the world were forced into quarantine and social distancing.
A key fact: Netflix was forced to reduce streaming quality in several countries to help reduce strain on overtaxed bandwidth.
Meanwhile, Google searches for Netflix surged in March 2020 as more people were forced into quarantine. By March 722, Google searches for “Netflix” surged to its highest point in 12 months when compared to Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.
19. Netflix users spent a combined 164 million hours per day watching content in 2019
According to a Streaming Observer report from 2019, Netflix viewers across all of its available countries watched around 164 million hours per day of content. Netflix has not released similar numbers since 2017 but has started releasing total viewing stats for select original content.
20. Over 35% of the Netflix subscriber base is in the US and Canada
While Netflix is available in almost every country in the world, its home base is still its most important one. Of the 200+ million Netflix subscribers, over 67 million are in the United States and Canada, with the US leading the pack.
As of February 2021, the largest Netflix subscriber regions include:
- US and Canada (UCAN): 73 million
- Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA): 66 million
- Latin America (LATAM): 37 million
- Asia-Pacific (APAC): 25 million
21. Netflix is one of the largest Amazon Web Services users and could be spending around $9.6 million per month for AWS
According to Intricately, which offers a tool that monitors cloud data usage, Amazon is likely spending $9.6 million per month on AWS. Netflix has not been shy about informing the public about its usage of Amazon Web Services. The streaming giant fully migrated its content over to Amazon Web Services in 2016, a project that took 7 years to complete.
22. Netflix spent $1.8 billion on research and development in 2020
The streaming giant spends a massive amount of money on “research and development”. In 2020, the company spent over $1.8 billion in this category, constituting a 18% increase over its 2019 R&D spending. By comparison, Netflix spent $852 million on R&D in 2016.
23. Netflix reported almost $25 billion in revenue in 2020
The streaming giant continues to earn big each year. Benefiting from larger subscriber growth as well as price increases, Netflix reported almost $25 billion in revenue for 2020. The company’s annual revenue was $8.83 billion just four years ago in 2016, marking a 183% increase from 2016 to 2020.
Perhaps more impressively, Netflix’s revenue growth is up 2400% since 2007, the year the company introduced its digital on-demand streaming option alongside its DVD-by-mail service.
24. Netflix earned over $239 million in 2020 from its DVD rental service
Although the company began as a DVD-by-mail rental service, it’s significantly scaled back that aspect after introducing the digital on-demand streaming option in 2007. Nonetheless, Netflix is still earning a healthy profit (but diminishing) profit from DVD sales. As of 2020, the company earned $239 million from DVD sales, with over 2.1 million customers still signed up solely for the DVD service.
However, the company’s DVD revenue and membership have been on the decline for years as more customers switch to on-demand. In 2017, the company made around $450 million in revenue from its DVD rental service, which indicates a 47 percent decrease in DVD rental revenue from 2017 to 2020.
25. Netflix subscribers sign up because it’s still a great deal for the price
A 2016 study found that 58% of Netflix subscribers choose the service because of its cost-effectiveness. Nearly the same number subscribed to get access to the service’s growing library of original content.
26. Prior to the release of Disney+, Netflix paid $300 million to stream Disney’s content
A key draw for Netflix users, before Disney+ launched, was its exclusive access to Disney’s animated films and other content. Netflix paid $300 million to stream Disney content. Disney, in turn, likely used some of that revenue to build its own service. Notably, although Disney is now operating a competitive on-demand service, Netflix still maintains rights to some of Disney’s most popular content for several more years.
27. Netflix took a huge hit in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic but recovered faster than most other media companies
Between March 4 and March 16, Netflix’s stock dropped over 22%, from 383.79 per share to 298.84 per share. However, the stock price had jumped back up to 375.50 by March 31, recovering the vast majority of what it had lost. During that same March 4 through March 31 time period, the entire NASDAQ index had recovered just over 17% of the value lost.
The vast difference in Netflix’s recovery compared to the NASDAQ average represents the distinct importance of Netflix as hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide found themselves at home in quarantine.
28. Netflix spent most of the money it earned in 2019, resulting in negative free cash flow
Although the company earns billions each year, its net income in 2019 was small as most of that money went right back out the door. Netflix had a negative free cash flow of $3.3 billion in 2019. However, it saw a positive free cash flow of $1.9 billion in 2020.
The majority of the company’s negative free cash flow is in spending on new original content, which it hopes to make up for in new subscriptions.
29. Netflix is still outspending its competition on original content
If there are two words one could use to best define the streaming wars, it’s these: “Original content”. And no service is spending as much on content (and especially original content) as Netflix is.
The service spent almost $12 billion on “additions to streaming content assets” in 2020. This marks a slight reduction in spending from last year, which is understandable given how uncertain 2020 has been for international markets.
30. Debtflix: Netflix carried over $12 billion in debt in 2019
Netflix carries a large amount of debt that it’s still paying off. The company reportedly held $12.43 billion in debt in 2019, and its own 2020 earnings report indicates that it intends to maintain between 10 and 15 billion moving forward. This may sound like a bad thing, but at least one industry observer notes that Netflix is doing just fine financing its growth with debt.
31. Netflix is worth over $216 billion as of May 2021
The company has seen its value grow rapidly over the years. As of May 2021, Netflix had a market cap of over $216 billion.
32. America has the largest Netflix library in 2021
Although Netflix content libraries shift in size almost daily, some countries regularly maintain larger library sizes than others. The US currently has the largest library of Netflix content, with over 5,800 titles as of February 2021.
33. Switzerland’s Netflix library is the least cost-effective for subscribers, while Argentina offers the best deal
Differences in library sizes result in Netflix subscribers paying vastly different amounts on a per-title basis. Netflix subscribers in Switzerland on a Standard subscription pay $0.00218 per title, with a library size of approximately 4,400 titles. In contrast, Netflix subscribers in Argentina pay just $0.00056 per title and have access to a larger library of over 4,800 titles.
34. The service employs around 9,400 workers
As of December 31, 2020, Netflix employed roughly 9,400 people. By comparison, the company had slightly fewer than 1,000 employees at the end of 2005, marking a 773% increase in its payroll over the past 15 years. Between 2018 and 2019, Netflix added 1,800 employees — the largest number of new employees brought in by the company over the course of 12 months in its history.
35. Nearly two-thirds of US households now have Netflix
According to Leichtman Research Group,at least 62% of American households now have a Netflix account. In 2010, just 16% of households had a Netflix account. Netflix continues to be the single most ubiquitous streaming service in the US and abroad.
36. Over 8 out of 10 Netflix users stream the service on a TV
Leichtman Research Group finds that 85% of Netflix users stream the service on a TV, indicating that most users have either a TV-connected streaming device like a Roku or Amazon Fire TV, or a smart TV (or both).
37. Netflix has over 15,000 titles, but its total library size is getting smaller as it focuses on developing original content
Data from uNoGS indicates that Netflix had at least 15,000 titles across all its international libraries as of February 2021. However, the company’s libraries offered around 15,400 titles in January 2018. This drop in titles reflects the company’s continued shift spending most of its content budget on original content.
38. Netflix has produced over 1,500 original titles since it began producing original content in 2013
The company produces two kinds of original content — TV shows and movies that it pays for and develops in-house, and TV shows and movies that it acquires that acquire the exclusive rights to broadcast. Netflix tends to put the term “Netflix Original” on both, adding notable difficulty to pin down the exact number of TV shows and movies that it’s actually produced in-house.
The company’s first true original show was award-winning House of Cards.
39. TV shows accounted for 82% of Netflix’s top-rated original content in 2019.
Netflix pours massive amounts of money into the number and quality of its serials, and it shows in the numbers. While the service had 35 original titles earn a “Certified Fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes in 2019, 82% (29) of those were serials. Only 9 of the licensed programs it released in 2019 were “Certified Fresh”.
40. Netflix’s personalized recommendation engine could be worth $1 billion per year (or more)
According to Business Insider Australia, Netflix believes its personalized recommendation engine is worth big bucks; roughly $1 billion per year, in fact.
41. Around 80% of Netflix users take the streaming service’s title recommendations offered by its algorithm
While users quite often land on the most popular shows, the vast majority of Netflix users also click to watch the recommended shows from the Netflix recommendation algorithm. 80% of Netflix views were from the service’s recommendations.
42. ‘The Office’ is still the top-watched licensed show on Netflix as of 2021
According to Nielsen, The Office was the top-watched licensed show on Netflix as of January 2021, with over 57 billion minutes watched. Other popular shows were Grey’s Anatomy (39 billion minutes) and Criminal Minds (35 billion minutes).
43. 34 million viewers tuned in to watch ‘Tiger King’ in its first 10 days
Netflix’s murder documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness notched up 34 million viewers within the first 10 days. As with many things these days, its fast rise in popularity was spurred on by social media, and in particular, an explosion of memes that help drive interest in the show.
44. Netflix has received over 480 award nominations and over 204 awards for its original content
The company’s original content strategy is about more than just volume. The company is actively pursuing awards as part of its Netflix’s original programming has received over 480 award nominations and 204 awards given. House of Cards holds 31 of those awards.
45. Netflix is willing to spend $20 million per hour of original content
The company is in the streaming wars to win it, and it’s putting its money where its digital mouth is. According to Netflix CFO David Wells, the company is not opposed to spending $20 million per hour of original content.
46. Netflix’s show ‘The Crown’ cost $10 million per episode
A drama based on the British royalty, the Netflix original series The Crown cost an estimated $13 million per episode. The sci-fi hit Stranger Things was a runner up with an estimated $12 million per episode.
47. Netflix is paying comedians tens of millions of dollars to produce stand-up performances
Netflix is also spending big on individual comedians, especially if they’re well known and can draw in subscribers. The company paid Chris Rock $40 million to produce two comedy specials and paid Dave Chapelle $60 million for a 3-part stand-up special.
48. Netflix data shows ISP speeds are getting better year-over-year, but smaller ISPs are offering the best speeds
Through its ISP Speed Index, Netflix regularly tracks and publishes primetime streaming speeds from all major ISPs in most countries it serves. While the index doesn’t (and can’t) provide the total speed an ISP can offer, it does give a reasonable snapshot of an ISP’s capabilities.
In the U.S., Texas-based GVTC Fiber had the fastest recorded speed as of February 2020, with an average 5.12 Mbps. It was followed closely by Hotwire, which delivered 5.09 Mbps. For its part, Hotwire held the top spot for every month in 2019-early 2020.
Among national ISPs in the US, Verizon FiOS was the speediest with an average 4.73 Mbps, followed by Cox, which delivered an average 4.66 Mbps in February 2020.
Netflix recommends a minimum of 5 Mbps for HD-quality streaming, meaning a large percentage of subscribers are streaming in SD quality or less. Very few are streaming in Ultra HD, which Netflix suggests requires 25 Mbps down in available bandwidth.
49. Netflix offers content in over 60 languages
Netflix offers its offer content in over 60 languages. In 2017, the company attempted to massively outsource its translation needs to thousands of individual translators worldwide. That effort lasted just one year. The company shut down its HERMES operation just a year later due to the complexity of onboarding and managing so many translators. Instead, the company outsources the work to a few dozen translation and localization services.
50. Netflix accounts for 19% of all worldwide online video subscriptions
According to the MPAA’s 2020 Theme Report, there were 1.1 billion online video subscriptions as of the end of 2020 (a 26 percent increase on 2019) Based on its current worldwide subscription numbers (208 million), that means Netflix commands 19% of the global digital streaming market.
The global streaming market is rising faster than Netflix’s subscriber base, meaning its year-over-year market share is slowly declining as more competition comes online.
51. Because most people subscribe to multiple services, around 44% of streaming service users subscribe to Netflix
Although around 19% of streaming service subscriptions go to Netflix, most subscribers have a Netflix subscription. According to eMarketer, 44% of individuals worldwide who have one or more subscription services also subscribe to Netflix.
52. Millennials watch more TV on-demand through Netflix than they do on live TV
Some sources show Millennials love Netflix, with 89 percent using on-demand services like Netflix to watch most of their TV, while 59 million people watch live TV. That amounts to 9% more Millennials opting for Netflix (and likely other on-demand options) over live TV.
53. Netflix single-handedly accounts for 12.6% of all downstream internet traffic worldwide
In its most recent Global Internet Phenomena Report, Sandvine notes that Netflix accounted for 12.6 percent of all global downstream traffic volume in the first half of 2019.
54. Netflix accounts for over 26% of downstream traffic in EMEA countries
While the average downstream percent worldwide is around 12%, there are significant regional variances. In the EMEA region, Netflix streaming accounts for 26.09% of all downstream traffic.
55. All Netflix subscribers have at least 6 shows they watch in common
According to Netflix, all of its customers have at least 6 shows or movies they watch in common. The service sees this as an interesting, unifying factor among its wide customer base.
Netflix 2021 and beyond
All signs continue to point toward a bright future for Netflix, but 2021 and beyond could result in some decline for the company. While the service continues to add customers in all markets, its market growth in the U.S. is likely to start leveling off as the company maximizes its potential in its home base.
And while the company still dominates in most markets where its available, increasing pressure from newer services means it will need to keep up its currently effective spending to stay ahead. However, the company cannot operate at a loss indefinitely. Eventually, it will need to turn a profit, which may mean stabilizing, and not continually increasing, its content spending budget. Still, with a lot of room to grow outside of the U.S., Netflix is still a good bet in 2021 and onward.