If you actually pay for your own Netflix account instead of mooching off of some sap of a friend’s subscription, you’re in good company. The streaming giant announced its quarterly earnings on Wednesday, and it turns out that Netflix is doing even better than it expected, having gained a record number of new subscribers around the world. Now, Netflix is on pace to easily break 50 million subscribers in the United States alone before this year is up.
Netflix’s letter to shareholders reveals that the company expects to have 49.86 million paid memberships in the U.S. by the end of March, which marks the end of the year’s first business quarter. For context, there are only about 320 million people in America (though not all of Netflix’s memberships belong to individuals).
It’s an astounding number of subscribers, made possible by a major uptick in 2016. Netflix finished off the year with 47.91 million paid memberships in the U.S. and started it with just 43.4 million. The company’s fourth quarter in particular was huge, since it snagged 7.05 million new memberships worldwide during that time even though it only expected to bring in 5.2 million new customers.
More than 47 percent of Netflix’s total members are located outside of the U.S., and that figure could very well rise as the company continues to invest in original content that’s not in English and not intended primarily for an American audience, like the Brazilian original sci-fi series 3%.
Luke Cage, The Crown, and Black Mirror’s third season were huge worldwide hits, according to the company. Netflix says it plans on investing $6 billion on content in 2017, so Stranger Things’s sophomore season is going to look nice as hell.