Netflix announced its Q4 earnings last week and in this article, Emily Horgan, an independent media analyst takes us through the recent quarter with a particular emphasis on Netflix’s kids’ efforts. You can also find this post on Emily’s LinkedIn.
First up a few broad headlines:
- Netflix announced an increase of 8.5m subscribers, breaking the 200 million milestone to reach a total of 203.6m subscribers worldwide. This brought the quarterly subscriber growth average up to 9.1m vs. 9m in 2019. They expect that this will mark the final impact of the stay-at-home tailwind all streamers saw from COVID-19 lockdowns and growth in 2021 won’t be at the same level.
- Interestingly subscriber growth held strongly in the US and Canada (860k vs 550k last year), despite a price hike in that region, and the expectation that the market is more saturated, especially with the number competitive services launched.
- The second major headline Netflix are highlighting to shareholders is that, on a simple level, they will no longer need to borrow substantial amounts of cash for day-to-day operation.
Looking at what was discussed relating to kids, families, and animation, let’s start with some performance results which relate to 2 minutes of viewership seen over 28 days. Comparisons here have been lifted from this very useful article from What’s on Netflix.
- Their first animated film from Glen Keane, Over the Moon (released Oct 2020), saw viewership in 43m global households. That’s a steady increase on The Willoughbys 38m (released Apr 2020) and Klaus 30m (on a 70% watched metric as opposed to 2 minutes, released Dec 2019). A look at what Netflix are doing for animated films can be found here.
- Looking at Live Action kids/family films We Can Be Heroes (released 25th Dec 2020) is projected at 53m. This is an increase compared to Tall Girl 41m (released Sep 2019).
- Family Christmas movie The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two saw 61m global households tune in, compared with 20m for the first installment in 2018 (on a 70% watched metric as opposed to two minutes).
- Cocomelon remains notably absent from any Netflix official statistic releases. This YouTube property from Moonbug launched on Netflix in June 2020 with the second batch of episodes dropping in December. It is the kid’s property that has cut through the most based on US Nielsen data and has also enjoyed record-breaking streaks in Netflix Top Ten Trending. I’ve looked in more detail at the kid’s content crossover between Netflix in more detail here.
One additional shoutout was given to the Christmas Day competition extravaganza which saw Wonder Woman 1984 drop on HBO Max, Pixar’s Soul drop on Disney+, alongside Bridgerton dropping on Netflix. This recognized the strong appetite for content in the marketplace with the familiar goal to make everybody’s favorite show, everybody’s favorite film restated.
Looking at what future plans were highlighted for kid’s content, as well as what we can read between the lines, Reed Hastings said of Disney:
“We’re very fired up about catching them in family animation, maybe eventually passing them we’ll see, we’ve a long way to go just to pass them”
Clean teen film sequel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before 3 was highlighted, alongside Yes Day, a family movie starring Jennifer Garner and Disney Channel’s Jenna Ortega. The young adult drama Fate: The Winx Saga, an adaptation of Nickelodeon’s Winx Club (which ran between 2004 – 2009 and was revived again between 2012 – 2019) was also highlighted. I guess that’s one step closer for my outside pitch of a glowed up, live-action film adaptation for Doc McStuffins.
The 70 movies a year marketing message, which dropped last week to much headline news was also mentioned. This is likely to be more than 70, which is not surprising given Netflix dropped a total of 130 movies last year.
Glad Ted Sarandos clarified on the movie list. Netflix has released over 70 movies every year since 2018. Last year was about 130 movies.
— Kasey Moore (@kasey__moore) January 19, 2021
If we dovetail this with Ted Sarandos’ comments at MIPCOM this year, which spoke of an ambition for the platform to release six animated films a year, 2021 currently looks as follows:
- A Winter’s Tale from Shaun the Sheep (Aardman)
- Wish Dragon (Sony Pictures Animation)
- The Loud House Movie (Nickelodeon)
- Robin Robin
- Back to the Outback (the only animated film featured in the “70 movies” sizzle)
My Father’s Dragon from Cartoon Saloon had previously been listed for 2021 so may take that last slot. Director Nora Twomey was highlighted among the “greatest animators in the world” by Sarandos in last quarter’s call.
When Sony’s Crunchyroll platform acquisition was compared to the Netflix Millarworld IP acquisition, their view was that they are not in the business of acquiring other streaming services for members. As “builders not buyers” (Sarandos), they are specifically interested in content and IP assets that can be turned into great TV shows and movies.
There was talk of improvements made to parental controls over the last year, some of which I’m yet to see more on further, either as a parent, or as a professional. Perhaps the country roll out is slow. Enhancements include:
- Allowing members to filter out content at the title level or by maturity rating
- Creating a profile lock PIN
- Customizing autoplay settings for any profile.
- A weekly Kids Activity Report designed to keep parents informed about the content their children are watching.
If you missed any of my reports on how Netflix is generally doing in the kids’ sector, you can view the collection of articles right here on What’s on Netflix.