Streaming giant Netflix is now even bigger. The network announced results for its fiscal first quarter today, confirming that it added 7.4 million new subscribers worldwide, which includes 1.96 million in the US alone. That was good for its second-biggest quarter in history in terms of subscriber growth. Overall, Netflix now has 125 million subscribers around the world.
Netflix’s strong quarter comes amid some amount of controversy. High-profile director Steven Spielberg said Netflix movies should not be eligible for the Academy Awards. Netflix releases some of its movies in theatres on a very limited basis to allow them to qualify. Additionally, the Cannes film festival recently announced that Netflix movies are banned.
Netflix said in a statement: “We regret our films not being able to compete at this year’s Cannes film festival. The festival adopted a new rule that means if a film is in competition at Cannes, it can not be watched on Netflix in France for the following three years . We would never want to do that to our French members.
“We will continue to celebrate our films and filmmakers at other festivals around the world but unfortunately we will have to sit out Cannes for now so that our growing French membership can continue to enjoy our original films.”
In an earnings call, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the company is not going to change its stance about giving some of its movies limited theatrical runs. “Defining distribution by what room you see it in is not the business we want to be in,” he said, according to GameSpot sister site CNET.
Also during the presentation, Netflix confirmed that it will spend between $7.5 billion and $8 billion on original content across formats such as series, films, unscripted shows, documentaries, comedy specials, and non-English language content. Netflix said it’s investing heavily so as to “serve the diverse tastes of our growing global membership base.”