In some ways, the world stopped in 2020, and the knock-on effect has carried well into this year.
The world’s most popular streaming service has seen a dip in original content releases on its platform due to the pandemic causing production delays for the majority of 2020. Original Netflix series in particular have taken the brunt, dropping by 20 per cent since the same time last year.
Lucky for Netflix, it already had some original content up its sleeve, so it could continue to stream despite production shutting down for months on end.
All things must come to an end though, and the streaming platform eventually emptied its coffers of Netflix Originals, having to wait for global conditions to allow the production of new content to resume.
Though it saw record growth in 2020, Netflix saw a dry spell for new sign-ups during Q1 2021, and cites the dip in original content as the reason. The streaming giant added fewer than four million customers in the first few months of the year – falling short of its six million target – and said it will only add one million new paid members in Q2.
To remedy this shortfall, Netflix says it will spend over US$17 billion (about A$22 billion) “in cash” on newly produced content this year.
The company said that this spend will depend on the vaccine roll-out around the world and the safe return to scheduled production. Netflix also said it will “continue to deliver an amazing range of titles for our members with more originals this year than last.”
So it looks like Netflix is reaching the light at the end of the tunnel, forecasting paid membership growth to “re-accelerate” in the second half of the year “with the return of new seasons of some of our biggest hits and an exciting film line-up,” including “a large number of returning franchises.”
The later months of 2021 look promising with some of Netflix’s most addictive and popular programs finally able to make their return, including Sex Education, The Witcher, You, Peaky Blinders, Stranger Things, Dead To Me and The Kissing Booth finale.
Also coming to Netflix will be highly anticipated movies such as Red Notice starring Gal Gadot and Ryan Reynolds, and Don’t Look Up – a dark comedy with a massive all-star cast of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Matthew Perry, Timothée Chalamet and Jonah Hill.