We’re still waiting to find out what effect the Covid-19 pandemic is having on music streaming subscriptions. All eyes on Spotify’s Q1 financials next week for that. But Netflix’s first-quarter figures were published yesterday, giving us a glimpse at the impact on video subscriptions.

Netflix added 15.8 million net new paid subscribers in Q1, benefiting from “temporarily higher viewing and increased membership growth”. The company expects “viewing to decline and membership growth to decelerate as home confinement ends, which we hope is soon”.

Netflix’s letter to shareholders outlines the challenges for a digital service below the surface of increased usage: “significant disruption” for customer support, for example, while for production “almost all filming has now been stopped globally”. That’s having a knock-on effect on Netflix’s financial guidance, since some of its cash spending on content will be “delayed” as will some releases of TV shows and films.

In non-coronavirus news, Netflix expects to add 7.5 million net paid subscribers in Q2 – while warning that this may well be higher or lower depending on when (or if) lockdowns ease. It also noted that 64 million households have so far chosen to watch Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ documentary.

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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