netflix subscribers

The new movie star is being made on your Netflix screen. At least, that’s what the streaming service is proudly proclaiming.

With an influx of 7 million new Netflix subscribers in its most recent quarter, and more digital clout than ever before, the streaming giant is starting to fashion itself into a new kind of star-making factory that is alluring to both Hollywood and Wall Street — one where Instagram followers are the absolute marker of popularity and Netflix original titles are strong enough to withstand the new streaming platform wars.

Netflix Subscribers Up By 7 Million

Tech Crunch reports that after a disappointing second quarter, Netflix rallied with 7 million new subscribers — reportedly about 2 million more than the streaming company expected. That brings Netflix’s subscriber total to about 137 million worldwide.

Netflix attributes the boost to the success of its summer rom-coms such as To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Set It Up, and The Kissing Booth, leading the streaming service to dub its string of hits as the “Summer of Love.” To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in particular was one of Netflix’s most-viewed original films, with more than 80 million Netflix accounts reportedly tuning in for it and the rest of the “Summer of Love” slate, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The surge in new subscribers has resulted in a 12 percent uptick in the company’s Wall Street stock, and for the company to estimate up to 9.4 million new members in the latter half of this year. While that may seem like a bold forecast for Netflix, which had just taken a hit in stock after gaining 1 million fewer customers than it expected in the 1st Quarter, the streaming service may be proving to have more clout than simply subscriber numbers.

The New Hollywood Stars

Gone are the days of MGM or Warner Bros. box office stars — Netflix is shaping a new generation of stars with the combined Instagram follower count of a small country. Just look to the sharp social media ascent of the stars of its “Summer of Love.” To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before stars Noah Centineo and Lana Condor have found their Instagram followers multiply by the millions, immediately launching them into heartthrob status. Vanity Fair reports that Condor’s follower count grew from 104,000 followers right before the movie’s premiere to 5.6 million, while Centineo had an even more dramatic jump from about 800,000 followers before the film to 14 million now.

Even Netflix has grown wise to the power that Instagram holds in the young generation of viewers growing up on Netflix. The streaming service released a chart of the social media growth of the young stars of Stranger ThingsThe Kissing Booth, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and Ridiculousness to Deadline — which is somewhat hilarious since the streaming service still refuses to release actual streaming data. “This explosive growth in popularity is a good indicator that our shows and stars are breaking out around the planet,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote in his note to investors, adding:

“We’re also thrilled that Netflix has been a launching pad for a new generation of global stars like Millie Bobby Brown, Jacob Elordi, Noah Centineo and Gaten Matarazzo. When our service helps our talent develop huge fan bases … we can attract the best talent in the world.

“You see in the long list of … newly minted stars this quarter, you can see what we mean by putting content into the culture and into the zeitgeist,” Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos added. “If it’s really great, it can get nominated and win Emmys and win Oscars.”

Losing ‘Friends’ in the Streaming Wars

Netflix will have to rely on the strength of their original content and new movie and TV stars with the coming streaming platform wars. The streaming landscape continues to shift drastically, pushing Netflix to grapple with a potential future in which its content library will be halved as studio partners begin pulling content off the platform. With Disney and WarnerMedia set to launch their own respective streaming platforms, Netflix is at risk of losing some of its most in-demand licensed titles and potentially alienating families, Deadline reports. We knew Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney titles are set to leave, there’s the more horrifying prospect of losing frequently rewatched sitcoms like Friends. Could you handle Netflix without Friends? I know I couldn’t, and Netflix is aware of that.

“Content like Friends is likely to disappear from Netflix in 2019 as WarnerMedia launches its own SVOD service,” wrote BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield of BTIG. “As more content creators launch their own SVOD services, how should investors think about the impact of losing high-profile syndicated content?”

But Netflix is confident in the strength of its original content (not to mention its burgeoning stars), and in the potential opportunity partnering with public broadcasters like the BBC, from which collaborations like the upcoming Dracula series has sprung. Sarandos said:

“Some of our biggest brands, like Stranger Things, are owned and produced in-house, but we are still licensing a lot of content. Queer Eye, Fastest Car, Nailed It, Sugar Rush. These are all shows that people love in enormous numbers around the world. And we don’t have to go through the gun-to-the-head renegotiations.”

Still, Sarandos is assured that not all partnering studios will pull their titles from Netflix. “We’ve been a pretty dependable buyer,” Sarandos said.

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