Netflix reported fourth quarter results and said it grew annual revenue 35% to $15.8 billion in 2018, and nearly doubled operating profits to $1.6 billion.
Fueling this growth was a huge increase in paid subscribers. Netflix said it ended 2018 with 139.2 million paying memberships, up 8.8 million from quarter start and up 29 million from the beginning of the year. There are 58.49 million subscribers in the U.S. alone for Netflix, up nearly 6 million from a year ago.
The company earlier this week raised prices for U.S. subscribers from $1 to $2 per month depending on high-definition level and will be phased into all customers this year. Shares rocketed this week on the news but were down Friday after the earnings report. Netflix also raised prices in Canada, Japan and Argentina in late 2018.
Netflix is expected to spend up to $13 billion on new TV shows and movies to satisfy its massive user base. The company projects it will add 8.9 million subscribers worldwide at the end of the first quarter.
Netflix films and TV shows picked up five 2019 Golden Globe wins, including Best Comedy Series for The Kominsky Method and Best Actor in a Comedy Series for Michael Douglas and Best Actor in a Drama Series for Richard Madden from Bodyguard. Alfonso Cuarón won the Golden Globe for Best Feature Director and Best Foreign Language Feature for ROMA.
This year, Netflix will be launching many new highly-anticipated titles including The Umbrella Academy (February 15th); Triple Frontier from J.C. Chandor (March); The Irishman from Martin Scorsese; 6 Underground from Michael Bay; and The Politician from Ryan Murphy; as well as returning seasons of The Crown led by a new cast including Olivia Colman, Ben Daniels, and Helena Bonham Carter; 13 Reasons Why, La Casa de Papel, Elite, and, of course, Season 3 of the epic Stranger Things, coming to members all around the world on July 4th.
Netflix still has 2.7 million subscribers to its original DVD rental service in the U.S. This number is down from 3.33 million last year.