Netflix blew past subscriber growth targets both internationally and in the US in its Q4 earnings Monday.
Netflix gained 8.3 million subscribers globally, which made Q4 “the highest quarter in our history,” Netflix said in its letter to shareholders.
The stock soared to record highs in after-hours trading following the news, up over 7% (after gaining around 3% in trading Monday).
Netflix came in slightly above Wall Street expectations on revenue, and in-line with estimates on EPS.
The streaming giant also turned in rosy subscriber growth guidance for Q1, well above Wall Street expectations. This was an area of concern for some analysts before earnings, given the lack of a big hit like “Stranger Things” (Q4) to anchor its originals lineup in Q1.
This result should wash away any lingering doubts about the effect Netflix’s price hike would have on subscriber retention in the US, as Netflix posted 1.98 million net adds in the US in Q4, above Wall Street forecasts of 1.29 million, and its own guidance of 1.25 million. It also blew past international growth targets.
Netflix said its strong performance was “fuelled by our original content slate and the ongoing global adoption of internet entertainment.” The company also mentioned that it took a $US39 million “non-cash charge in Q4 for unreleased content we’ve decided not to move forward with.”
Netflix took time to spotlight marketing in its letter to shareholders, saying that “big hits like 13 Reasons Why, Stranger Things and Bright result from a combination of great content and great marketing.” The company said it would take marketing spend up “a little faster than revenue for this year” (from $US1.3 billion to about $US2 billion).
Here are the key numbers for Netflix’s Q4 earnings:
- Q4 EPS (GAAP): $US0.41 versus Wall Street estimates $US0.41.
- Q4 revenue: $US3.28 billion versus Wall Street estimates of $US3.28 billion.
- Q4 US subscriber growth (net additions): 1.98 million net adds, versus Wall Street estimates of 1.29 million net adds, and Netflix forecast of 1.25 million.
- Q4 international subscriber growth (net additions): 6.36 million net adds, versus Wall Street estimates of 5.05 million, and Netflix forecast of 5.05 million.
- Q1 US subscriber growth guidance (net additions): 1.45 million net adds, versus Wall Street estimates of 1.28 million net adds.
- Q1 international subscriber growth guidance (net additions): 4.9 million net adds, versus Wall Street estimates of 3.90 million net adds.
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