Netflix Inc.’s business model was only supposed to work unless and until a recession hit, or so said conventional wisdom. That turned out to be very wrong. We’re now in a stay-at-home recession, and Netflix — along with Zoom, Instagram, TikTok and Amazon — has defined the experience.
Holed up, bored and ready to stream, nearly 16 million users signed up for Netflix subscriptions in the first quarter, according to results posted Tuesday — almost double the amount analysts expected. Most of those streaming converts came in March as the Covid-19 virus and resulting shelter-in-place orders spread from China to Italy to the U.S. and beyond. It’s a remarkable pace of growth that won’t last, as even Netflix admits. But more important, behind that number is a consumer that may be more convinced than ever that Netflix is a necessity. That can’t yet be said for other streaming-video services.