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Netflix Will No Longer Borrow, Ending Its Run of Debt

In the last quarter, one of Netflix’s most-watched series was the fourth season of “The Crown,” which has drawn more than 100 million households since the series began. Its largest film for the period was “The Midnight Sky,” the sci-fi drama helmed by George Clooney, which was watched by 72 million households.

All the debt Netflix accumulated allowed it to flex its film slate for 2021, when it plans to release 70 new movies, more than one new film every week. The lineup features a collection of stars that would rival any Hollywood studio, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Dwayne Johnson, Idris Elba, Zendaya, Jennifer Lawrence, Gal Gadot, Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer.

There are still risks to Netflix’s cash-fueled alleyway to streaming dominance. Hollywood has finally caught up, and much larger companies like the Walt Disney Company, with Disney+, and AT&T, with HBO Max, are now making big bets on streaming, giving consumers more choices and threatening Netflix’s market share.

The continuing appearance of new rivals, with ViacomCBS’s Paramount+ set to arrive on March 4, and the enduring strength of Amazon Prime Video and Hulu have inspired a raft of “switching,” a practice where consumers turn various streaming services on and off month to month. After watching their favorite shows on one service, more people are canceling and then subscribing to a different service, according to a study by the consulting firm Deloitte.

The survey found in January 2020 that 20 percent of those who paid for a streaming service had canceled it within the previous year. But by October, as new services came to life, almost half, or 46 percent, had canceled at least one of the services in the last six months.

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