Director David Ayer (L), actors Will Smith (2nd-L), Noomi Rapace (R) and Joel Edgerton attend the Japan premier for the film "Bright" in Tokyo on December 19. Netflix hit 125 million subscribers worldwide after adding a total of 7.4 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2018. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo
April 16 (UPI) -- Netflix added 7.4 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2018, exceeding its own expectations, the company reported Monday.
In its first-quarter letter to shareholders the company reported it reached 125 million subscribers, including nearly 5.5 million outside the United States, after previously focusing on expanding into foreign markets.
Netflix also reported a 43 percent increase in revenue year over year, "the fastest pace in the history of our streaming business" due to a 25 percent increase in average paid streaming memberships.
"We strive to entertain and to bring joy to people across the world through amazing stories. Our 125 million members provided us with $3.6 billion in streaming revenue in Q1. Our job is to spend this money wisely to increase our members' delight," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote.
The company plans to spend between $7.5 billion and $8 billion on content in 2018 including series, films, unscripted content, documentaries, comedy specials and non-English language programs.
"Last year, we expanded our efforts in original programming to uscripted shows across several genres. Our output in this area is now comparable to similarly-focused US domestic cable networks. Shows like Queer Eye and Nailed It are great examples of our ambitions in this area: engaging, buzz-worthy shows that drive lots of enjoyment around the world," Hastings wrote.
Netflix also committed $17.9 billion to streaming content deals with creators such as Ryan Murphy, Shonda Rhimes, Shawn Levy and Jenji Kohan.
"While these overall deals are a substantial investment for us, they allow us to work directly with prolific and talented creators with a proven track record of success," Hastings wrote. "Instead of having to license their shows for a finite period from outside suppliers, we will own the projects we produce with them."
The company expects to add 6.2 million global subscribers in the second quarter of the year including 1 million new subscribers in the United States and 5 million internationally.