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Netflix focused on growing original content as competition closes in

6 months ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Markets

Netflix ($NASDAQ:NFLX) has been a sensation on just about every business facet: massive revenues, positive brand sentiment, hit programming, and a growing subscription base. As the streaming pioneer sets to report second-quarter results on July 17, earnings forecasts are positive as well: Zacks Consensus Estimate is looking at 56 cents per share, and Netflix is expexted to report revenues of almot $5 billion, up 32%.

Alternative data trends continue to point in the right direction as well: hiring is up, the Netflix global workforce continues to expand, and the product lineup is growing on pace.

Growing workforce

If a company isn't hiring, it isn't growing. In the case of Netflix, the company has been on a hiring spree for virtually all of 2017 and 2018. A minor slowdown in early 2019 was replaced by a renewed hiring effort that has seen job listings grow 14.4% since the spring.

This has resulted in a rapidly growing workforce, especially as seen in data trails that track the number of LinkedIn members who claim Netflix as an employer on the professional networking site. Nearly 8,000 members list Netflix as their employer. At this time last year, that number was around 4,800. That's a workforce growth of nearly 67% in just one year.

Even as Netflix expands globally with international content in virtually every language, it remains a firmly Hollywood company, with the vast majority of hiring at its LA hub. Its Dutch and Japan operations, however, have seen considerable growth as the company continues to develop original, international programming as it goes after emerging streaming markets.

Expanding library

It's one thing to get millions of subscribers to sign up for a "Stranger Things" binge session, but it's another to keep them around: a lesson that HBO is learning as it scrambles to retain subscribers post-"Game of Thrones".

But one look at the number of original shows in Netflix's catalog over time and it's clear that the company has its eye not only on continuing to grow its subscription base, but to also keep them as customers.

As of this week, Netflix lists more than 1,040 original shows and movies on its service. In May, that number was 991. In just two months, Netflix has added 51 new programs to its roster, a pace never before seen in broadcast or streaming.

Momentum or a moment?

Can Netflix keep this growth pattern and pace up, especially as major new competition enters the space from Disney Plus, Apple TV+, and now HBO Next? Our numbers say yes, or at least through the next quarter, as momentum of the type shown here is virtually irreversible at least until competitors show that they are just that: competitors in a space dominated by Netflix.

The company is covering its bases for continued scale. Sure, launching an average of 17 new shows or movies per month is a breakneck pace for any media enterprise, but the hiring and workforce numbers indicate that the company is focused on winning. Then again, Disney and Apple bring scale and tech ecosystems to the table, respectively, that have never been seen in streaming. If anything, TV watchers will reap the largest rewards as competition heats up and manifests in what is sure to be some amazing programming.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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