Netflix stock and subscribers surge as coronavirus forces people to stay home and 'chill'
Netflix is enjoying a bull run on the bourses.
A brand that has always advocated staying at home and 'chilling' — almost pre-empting the 'new normal' that is today — has seen its stock price hit a record-high this year with coronavirus sending half the world into an extended lockdown.
Netflix stock has gained 33 percent, reaching a two-year high as the video-streaming platform sees a spike in new subscriptions. Its ad-free business model seems perfectly tailored for current times when advertising and marketing budgets are shrinking across the board.
Investors have called the Netflix stock "impervious" to the coronavirus crisis.
"We are boosting our anticipated subscribership numbers for Netflix's first quarter, primarily due to what we believe is a 'cocooning' effect at hand due to fears surrounding the coronavirus," wrote David Miller, an analyst on Wall Street.
Additionally, with widespread 'social distancing' measures forcing theatres to down shutters worldwide, film studios are increasingly offloading their unreleased titles onto Netflix, and other streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Hulu.
Netflix has reportedly received over a 100 film pitches within weeks. Amazon Prime Video has got about half of that, according to Hollywood media reports.
As homebound audiences scout for more entertainment online, Netflix is also seeing strong growth in subscriber additions. In the US, where the video-streaming giant had been struggling to add new users for nearly two years, it recorded a 47 percent growth in subscriber additions.
In India, Netflix is topping user searches. Online visibility management platform SEMrush found that searches with the keywords "Netflix" increased by 127 percent while those with the keyword "Netflix subscription" went up even higher by 193 percent.
"The study strongly indicates that many were prompted to subscribe to streaming services because of the pandemic and ensuing lockdown," SEMrush said in a study.
To ease the period of isolation, a Chrome extension Netflix Party – built by independent developers – that lets users host watch parties remotely with friends, family, or dates, has also become viral.
Netflix Party is already one of the most talked about quarantine tools. Data reveals that over eight million users have hopped onto it within a few weeks of launch.
The Party extension syncs your video playback with other viewers' and the content is streamed simultaneously across all devices. There’s also a group chat feature that allows you to keep the binge-watching sessions fun and interactive.
You can add the extension from the Chrome Web Store, select a title to watch, create a party by selecting the red ‘NP’ icon near the address bar, and share the party URL to invite others. Those joining a party have to click on the link to start watching.
While only time will tell how the coronavirus-induced production freeze will impact Netflix financials in the long run, for now, it can just sit back and 'chill'.
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta