On Thursday, the streaming giant that almost everybody has, Netflix, announced that it ended last year with more than 230 million global subscribers. This beats analysts’ expectations as hits such as Wednesday and Harry & Meghan enticed new viewers.
In a letter announcing bumper fourth-quarter earnings, the company said, “2022 was a tough year, with a bumpy start but a brighter finish.”
Netflix also announced that Reed Hastings, co-founder of the streaming platform, was standing down as CEO. This ends a two-decade-long leadership that saw the company grow from a rent-by-mail DVD service to an entertainment juggernaut.
Reed ceded everyday control of Netflix to his two longtime associates Chief Operating Officer Greg Peters and Ted Sarandos. They have been the face of Netflix in Hollywood and had already been named co-CEO.
In a blog post, Reed said, “Our board has been discussing succession planning for many years (even founders need to evolve!)”
He said he would take the new job of executive chairman. He stated that this was a role that tech giant founders often take. Reed gave Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft’s Bill Gates as examples.
The changing of the guard was announced as Netflix posted earnings and subscriber data. This blew past even the most optimistic expectations.
The streaming giant said it enticed 7.7 million new members in three months. This brings Netflix membership around the world to 230 million people.
Netflix praised a successful slate of new content that included horror-themed comedy Wednesday. They called the Addams Family spinoff the company’s third most popular series ever.
Royal tell-all documentary Harry & Meghan also scored, Netflix said. Also, of course, the star-studded Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery starring Daniel Craig.
The fresh titles helped attract users to a new lower-priced Basic with Ads subscription, as consumers cut back on their entertainment spending amid soaring inflation and an uncertain economy.