With most entertainment venues closed or operating under restricted circumstances, the pandemic has only served to emphasize just how important home entertainment is to us.
Fortunately, streaming video services are now available to relieve us of our boredom at any time, day or night. And no company more perfectly epitomizes the streaming video trend than Netflix (NFLX -4.12%).
The content platform and production company just reported a blowout fourth quarter, with 8.5 million paid net additions pushing its total subscribership past the 200 million mark. For the full year, the streaming giant added 37 million paid members, resulting in a 24% year-over-year growth in revenue.
If your household is among that 200 million, you've already found reasons to give Netflix a place in your living room. Here are a few compelling reasons why I also believe its stock is worth a place in your investment portfolio.
Outstanding financial and operating numbers
Netflix's stellar performance during the pandemic is no anomaly -- it has been reporting strong growth over the last five years. Revenue tripled from $6.8 billion in 2015 to $20.2 billion in 2019. Net income jumped by an even-more-impressive 15-fold from $122.6 million to $1.9 billion over the same period.
Membership numbers also grew substantially. Netflix closed 2015 with close to 75 million subscribers, and -- as I just mentioned -- ended 2020 with upwards of 200 million. This growth has been significantly bolstered by Netflix's successful expansion into international markets. Its foreign revenues grew more than six-fold from $1.9 billion to $13.3 billion from 2015 to 2020.
Ramping up new content
Netflix has also been feverishly working on creating new content. Its production teams have resumed filming in most regions, and the company now has over 500 titles in post-production or ready to launch. Netflix has committed to releasing at least one new original film every week in 2021 -- a clear signal that the company is intent on strengthening its catalog.
Part of the reason for that strong commitment to increasing content is the number of other competitors that have recently joined the streaming universe or moved to enhance their offerings within it. Disney reported that 87 million paying members signed up for its Disney+ streaming service in 2020. AT&T has been pushing into the space with its HBO Max service. ViacomCBS is set to transform its CBS All Access service into a bigger one dubbed Paramount+ on March 4, adding live sports and new mini-series to its mix. And Discovery has announced the launch of Discovery+ in the U.S.
Given the way competition in streaming has been heating up, investors may feel understandably worried about Netflix's prospects. However, two facts should provide reasonable reassurance here. First, Netflix remains the market leader, and is more than capable of holding its own against the competition. Second, the pie is large enough to accommodate several different streaming players, each offering their own unique content. In fact, that was the original vision Netflix had for the industry.
Netflix is not offering all this brand-new content for free, though. A price increase in the U.S. had already been announced during the fourth quarter. For the U.K., it was announced in December that the cost of a premium plan will go up from 11.99 pounds per month to 13.99 pounds, while a standard plan will increase from 8.99 pounds to 9.99 pounds.
Although some members may balk at the hike and cancel their subscriptions, the majority should not mind paying slightly more to receive such a large quantity of quality content. One can also expect that inertia will play a leading role, as most members will just let their subscriptions roll on without paying much attention to the slightly higher monthly charge.
A titan in its own right
Netflix has demonstrated its ability to grow at breakneck speed, and it continues to add subscribers at a rapid pace. The streaming titan has amassed a loyal member base over many years and continues to bolster its content library with new titles. Notably, its original content remains extremely popular. Nine out of the 10 TV shows most searched for on Google in 2020 belonged to Netflix.
Despite competition coming from multiple fronts in 2021, I believe Netflix can more than hold its own. The pandemic may have accelerated the company's subscriber growth in the near term, but its long-term future continues to look bright.