A gaffe by Cade (Administrative Council for Economic Defense) revealed the subscriber base of Netflix in Brazil, number until then treated as a “black box” by the streaming platform. According to a document that was supposed to be private, but was placed in public mode in a process, Netflix has a base of 19 million customers in the country.
The failure occurred during the manifestation of the Neo TV association, which represents small pay TV operators in Brazil that together hold 2.5% of the market. Neo delivered to Cade a text in which it criticized the merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery. In it, he mentioned that the argument that Netflix would be a competitor of pay TV is not valid in Brazil yet.
“It is true that streaming platforms have conquered many customers in recent years, but it is also clear that a relevant portion of consumers consider OTT services as complementary to pay TV — Netflix, for example, has already been able to gain 19 million subscribers in Brazil alone,” the document stated.
To base its argument on Netflix, Neo attached a document from the streaming platform itself in a manifestation of another lawsuit at Cade, which investigated the payment of volume bonuses to the advertising market made by Globo. O TV news had access to it.
The problem is that this document with the information was the private version of the Netflix manifestation, with confidential data that could not be included in the public version. The numbers are for January this year. In other words, it is possible that the 20 million customer mark has been surpassed.
Every company communicating with Cade sends two documents when it is summoned to manifest itself, one for publication on the internet as transparency, and the other with restricted access only to interested parties.
Netflix says it doesn’t reveal the number of its subscribers for strategic reasons. In September 2019, however, the company admitted in a statement that it had broken the barrier of 10 million contracts in Brazil.
Wanted by TV news, Netflix said it would look into the facts, but did not respond until closing. Cade will not comment on the case.