Pandemic streaming services boom goes bust

Digital & Media

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Streaming giant Netflix was one of the biggest winners when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and everyone were forced to stay at home for far longer periods of time than usual. 

With nothing much else to do, people turned to streaming services in their droves and Netflix benefitted to the tune of 8 million additional subscribers in the last three months of 2020 alone.

Now, it seems the pandemic boom for Netflix may be starting to bust. Although they picked up an impressive 4 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2021, that is two million fewer subscribers than was projected, and significantly fewer than the 8 million new subscribers it picked up at the tail-end of 2020.

The world’s biggest streaming company now expects to add just one million subscribers in this quarter, which is accurate, would represent its slowest quarter of growth since the company’s inception, perhaps signaling the end of the streaming boom brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesperson for the company said that the huge gains made at the height of the pandemic in 2020, combined with the deceleration of new content being reduced due to coronavirus restrictions was likely to be responsible for the decline. This is likely to be the case even though more people are accessing greater levels of content due to the use of VPNs like the one available at Due to this decline, the share price of Netflix fell by a not-insignificant 11 percent.

The latest drop in subscribers came immediately following an extraordinary period o unprecedented growth for Netflix, which was able to pick up over 36 million new subscribers in 2020, taking them well above the 200 million subscriber mark globally due, undoubtedly, to the number of lockdowns taking place worldwide, and the need for individuals to find a source of entertainment within their own homes. That initial boom seems to be over as more countries start to get back to some semblance of normality.

In a letter to shareholders, Netflix confirmed that “the extraordinary events of Covid-19” had caused a boom in membership worldwide in 2020, but that it has also delayed the creation of a lot of content globally too. They noted that these factors are also now contributing to a smaller amount of new content being released in 2021, leading to a sluggish level of subscription growth in the first quarter of 2021 and beyond.

Other things that are thought by many experts to be contributing to Netflix’s lack of growth right now are the launch of Disney+, which as expected, is proving to be extremely popular with consumers in every region where it is available, as well as brand new streaming services front eh likes of Comcast, Apple, and NBCUniversal’s Peacock, although Netflix claims that this was not a significant factor in the slowdown experienced by the company in the first quarter of 2021, and financially speaking, Netflix’s revenue grew by 24 percent in the latest quarter, which is in line with expectations, so maybe things aren’t;rt quite so bad after all.