Pandemic And Chill: Netflix Adds A Cool 16M Subscribers

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Netflix picked up nearly 16 million global subscribers during the first three months of the year, helping cement its status as one of the world’s most essential services in times of isolation or crisis.

The quarter spanned the beginning of stay-at-home orders in the U.S. and around the world, a result of the coronavirus pandemic. People appeared to latch on to its vast video library as a source of entertainment and comfort at a time when most had nowhere to be but home.

Netflix more than doubled the quarterly growth it predicted in January, well before the COVID-19 outbreak began to shut down many major economies. It was the biggest three-month gain in the 13-year history of Netflix’s streaming service.

The numbers released Tuesday as part of Netflix’s first-quarter earnings report support a growing belief that video streaming is likely to thrive even as the overall U.S. economy sinks into its first recession in more than a decade.

Investor optimism about Netflix’s prospects propelled the company’s stock to new highs, a sharp contrast with the decline in the broader market. Netflix’s shares surged nearly 5% to $453.99 in extended trading after the first-quarter report came out If the stock reacts similarly in Wednesday’s regular session, shares will hit another high for the Los Gatos, California, company.