Several million people have tossed a coin to their Witcher, according to Netflix’s fourth quarter earnings report that just released on Tuesday (January 21).
According to a letter the streaming service sent to shareholders, some 76 million subscribers watched the first season of the show, making it one of the company’s most popular first seasons ever and, potentially, the service’s biggest show. The numbers are pretty astounding and put the show above some of the decade’s biggest series like Game of Thrones that had over 19 million people watch its final episode.
The catch here is that the numbers are being tabulated according to Netflix’s revised viewership system that counts two minutes of viewing – what Netflix is calling ‘an intentional choice’ – the same as watching 70% of an episode under its old measurement system, and are vastly different than the metrics Nielsen uses to measure shows like Game of Thrones.
That said, whatever system you’re using, the fact that 76 million subscribers chose to watch the series (even for two minutes) starring Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia is still pretty impressive. That’s more subscribers than its US-based competitor Hulu has, and seven times the amount of subscribers Disney Plus had two months ago.
Slow growth in the US, but big business abroad
Of course, The Witcher wasn’t the only new show last month. In the same brief, Netflix says that The Crown has garnered 73 million viewers total after its season debut and 6 Underground, a new film from director Michael Bay and starring Ryan Reynolds, had 83 million members tune in. The last part sounds pretty dubious, but again, viewers only had to watch it for more than two minutes for it to count.
The rest of Netflix’s shareholder letter isn’t all that interesting but there were a few standout stats that are worth calling attention to. For starters, Netflix is reporting that it brought in $20 billion in revenue in 2019 and it says it surpassed 100 million paid memberships outside of the US where it now has close to 70 million subscribers.
Netflix says it’s going to use the money generated to invest in new forms of content, pointing to Black Mirror Bandersnatch as an example of how it can ‘grow engagement and our storytelling capabilities’ in addition to previously announced titles like BoJack Horseman Season 6, Locke and Key and Ozark Season 3.
On the technology side of things, Netflix touted its mobile-only plans it rolled out in Malaysia, Indonesia and India, which it says it will bring to more countries in the coming year.