Netflix is soaring after it crushed subscriber growth targets yet again

NetflixNetflix’s Jessica Jones
  • Netflix beat domestic and international subscriber growth targets, adding 7.41 million subscribers – a first-quarter record.
  • It reported revenue in line with Wall Street estimates and company forecasts.
  • Netflix’s guidance for Q2 subscriber additions should also have investors smiling.

Netflix blew past its subscriber growth targets in its first-quarter earnings report Monday, and its stock rose by more than 6% in after-hours trading.

The streaming giant added a total of 7.41 million subscribers in the US and internationally – its biggest total for Q1.

Netflix reported $US3.7 billion in revenue, in line with Wall Street estimates and the company’s forecasts.

Investors should also be pleased about Netflix’s guidance for Q2, an area of concern for some analysts going into this earnings report, with estimates for domestic and international subscriber growth well above what Wall Street was expecting.

Netflix’s continued subscriber growth has been propelled by the strength in quality and quantity of its original shows. In Q1, Netflix released a few high-profile originals, such as the sci-fi series “Altered Carbon,” David Letterman’s new talk show, the “Queer Eye” reboot, and a new season of “Marvel’s Jessica Jones.”

In its letter to shareholders, Netflix pointed to its “wide variety of formats” catering to the “diverse tastes” of subscribers.

Netflix has also jumped into movies in a serious way, planning to release 80 original films this year.

The company, however, has publicly sparred with the Cannes Film Festival and recently decided to not screen any of its films there – something it also mentioned in the letter. Hollywood insiders are split on whether this will affect Netflix’s business in a tangible way.

Netflix also highlighted its deal with the superstar “hit-maker” Ryan Murphy, as well as with Shonda Rhimes, Shawn Levy, and Jenji Kohan. It says these kinds of deals allow it to “reduce our reliance on third-party studios and forego the corresponding licence premiums we’ve historically paid.”

But all these original TV shows and movies and marquee showrunners haven’t come cheap. Netflix has said it will spend $US8 billion on content this year and expects negative free cash flow to rise to $US3 billion to $US4 billion.

Here are the key numbers for Netflix’s Q1 earnings:

  • Q1 revenue: $US3.7 billion, up 40% year over year and in line with Wall Street estimates and company guidance of $US3.69 billion.
  • Q1 earnings per share (GAAP): $US0.64, in line with Wall Street estimates.
  • Q1 US subscriber growth (net additions): 1.96 million, versus Wall Street estimates and company guidance of 1.45 million.
  • Q1 international subscriber growth (net additions): 5.46 million, versus Wall Street estimates of 4.98 million and company guidance of 4.9 million.
  • Q2 US subscriber growth guidance (net additions): 1.2 million, versus Wall Street estimates of 963,000.
  • Q2 international subscriber growth guidance (net additions): 5 million, versus Wall Street estimates of 3.87 million.

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