The COVID-19 crisis continues to be a blessing in disguise for those in the streaming media field, as Netflix reported Tuesday that its subscriber totals passed the 200 million milestone at the end of 2020.

The global streaming media leader issued its fourth-quarter results Tuesday showing it added 8.51 million subscribers between October through December for a total of 203.66 million. The figure beat Netflix’s October forecast by more than 2 million additions.

Over the course of the pandemic-impacted year, streaming services like Netflix have garnered significant gains in both subscribers and the revenue they generate, as people have been forced to shelter at home. Over the first 9 months of 2020, the OTT provider added 28.1 million paid subscribers, compared with 27.8 million new subscribers throughout 2019.

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The performance sets the bar for others to follow. The red-hot newcomer to premium streaming subscription video on demand (SVoD), Disney+, tallied 86.8 million subscribers as of Dec. 2nd, while the popular U.S. SVoD service Hulu has 38.8 million subscribers, and WarnerMedia’s new HBO Max has 12.6 million subscribers.

For the full year, Netflix added a record 37 million paid subscribers, up 31% from a year before, and garnered $25 billion in annual revenue ($6.64 billion in Q4 alone), up 24% from full year 2019. Operating profit grew 76% to $4.6 billion.

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By Greg Tarr

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