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Netflix Dominates Physical Rental Even as it Moves Toward Digital

May 05, 2011

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Netflix reported 27 April 2011 it has achieved 46% year-over-year revenue growth in its first fiscal quarter of 2011, which ended 31 March 2011. The company saw global revenue for its subscription disc rental and streaming services grow to $719m in the 1Q 2011 from $494m in 1Q 2010. The vast majority of that ($706m) was in the US, where 3.3m net additions caused total subscribers to reach 22.8m compared to just under 14m in the same quarter 2010 and 19.5m in the previous quarter.

Netflix added a streaming-only subscription option to its US plans in November 2010, at the same time enacting a price increase across its hybrid (discs-plus-streaming) subscription packages. The company says that new subscribers during the first quarter took an even mix of its $7.99 per month streaming-only and $9.99 per month-and-up hybrid subscription rental plans. Netflix has been active in acquiring new streaming content for its service, with recent deals with CBS, Fox and Lionsgate and for original content (see the March 2011 issue of IHS Screen Digest's Hollywood Aftermarket), so that trend toward streaming-only will likely hold or even gain momentum.

IHS Screen Digest estimates that the company's paid hybrid subscribers stood at around 18m at the end of 2010 (total subscribers of about 19.5m, including streaming-only and unpaid trial subscribers) and will grow to 21m by the end of 2011. The company surpassed Blockbuster in terms of market share in 2010, capturing the largest single-company share of the rental market as it grew from just under 26% of total spending on rental in 2009 to nearly 35% in 2010 - and we expect its revenue from hybrid subscribers to represent more than 40% of our $6.3bn forecast for total spending on physical disc rental in 2011 even as it focuses more tightly on rebranding itself as primarily a streaming company.

For More Information > IHS Screen Digest U.S. Video Intelligence

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