Netflix is doing quite well with its streaming subscription service, and the growth is even surprising industry and market experts as a result. In the last quarter, Netflix boasted 5.2 million new subscribers to its customer base as it continues to thrive in the digital age’s streaming revolution at a pivotal time for cable giants and conglomerates.

According to Recode, the majority of those new subscribers come from outside the United States, which suggests the service is hitting its stride abroad. There are now more international subscribers to Netflix than there are in the United States, with 52 million of Netflix’s customers residing outside the country (51.9 million can be found in the US). That certainly makes stockholders very happy, as profits have reportedly gone up 15 cents per share. That adds up pretty quickly.

Netflix has established itself a s a leader in the online streaming industry for a number of reasons, thus setting the bar and drafting the blueprints for competitors like Hulu and Amazon. First, it has a terrific lineup of original content that cannot be found anywhere else. Shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black have become staples for Netflix subscribers, but revivals of older shows like Full House (with Fuller House) and Gilmore Girls have also found an audience craving new episodes with their favorite characters.

Netflix has also benefited from the new partnership with Disney, which brings a good chunk of Disney properties to the streaming service, from animated classics to titles from the Star Wars and Marvel universes. There is something available for everyone.

Not to be overlooked is the newest way to access Netflix for a number of Comcast customers, with Netflix being implemented straight into the X1 service from Comcast. Having all of the programming options available on Netflix readily available from the same device and platform customers use to access their DVR and program guide is a nice luxury to have with an HBO and Showtime subscription.

Where does the streaming service go from here?

For starters, the idea about branching out more to the sports world remains an idea that should very much be on the table for discussion. Live sports programming may work for services like Amazon and Hulu (and Twitter and Yahoo etc.), but that is still an area that does not feel like a good fit for Netflix, and CEO Reed Hastings has regularly said that. But as Netflix continues to grow and cable subscriptions continue to trend downward, it would be wise for sports leagues and franchises to keep an open mind about the possibilities that could be maximized by partnering with Netflix. For example, archiving games for on-demand playback would be one area to explore, as would saving updated content throughout a season in the form of highlight packages and even original programming produced by leagues and teams.

Rest assured, there are plenty of fans who would want to relive the top-25 games of a particular season in binge fashion leading up to the start of a new year. Streaming would be a fun way to relive the top-10 games of a Hall of Fame player’s career before they get inducted in the Hall of Fame. And documentaries like Netflix original Last Chance U, as well as ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, have done well on the service. Live sports may not fit the binge-watching culture Netflix strives for, but there are possibilities that could easily be implemented if the time ever comes.

There is no easy and clear path for live sports and Netflix, but if they keep adding customers to their base, then they will continue to have numbers that simply should not be ignored by the sports world as they look for ways to provide for their respective futures in the evolving media landscape. We’ll see what that looks like.

[Recode]

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to NBCSports.com's College Football Talk, Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Host of the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and iHeart Radio. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.

  • John Vicari

    Wish Netflix had more sports documentaries. Netflix got rid of 30 for 30s, and WWE Documentaries and no HBO, FOX, Showtime, and NBC documentaries or sports features available anywhere in its history.