Netflix Wins Big After Reporting Record Quarter

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) reported its fourth-quarter financial results after the markets closed on Wednesday. The company posted $0.15 in earnings per share (EPS) and $2.48 billion in revenue, versus consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that called for $0.14 in EPS and $2.47 billion in revenue. The same period from last year had $0.10 in EPS and $1.82 billion in revenue.

The company added 7.05 million net new members globally in the quarter, against the forecast of 5.20 million and last year’s fourth-quarter performance of 5.59 million. This was the largest quarter of net additions in the company’s history and was driven by strong acquisition trends in both U.S. and International segments. Domestically Netflix added 1.93 million members and international membership grew by 5.12 million. Over 47% of all subscribers are now located outside of the United States.

In terms of guidance, Netflix expects to see 5.2 million in net additionss with 1.5 million of these coming from the U.S. and the remainder coming from the international segment.

Separately, Netflix said that it expects $0.37 in EPS and $2.52 billion in revenue for the first quarter. The consensus estimates are calling for $0.18 in EPS and $2.6 billion in revenue.

The company also mentioned net neutrality in its earnings report. Management said that the weakening of U.S. net neutrality laws, should it occur, is unlikely to materially affect domestic margins or service quality because Netflix is now popular enough with consumers to keep relationships with ISPs stable.

Management commented:

We are learning rapidly how best to match content with audience tastes around the world. It is clear to us that high quality content travels well across borders. For instance, our global originals like Marvel’s Luke Cage, The Crown and season 3 of Black Mirror continue to generate excitement and excellent viewing all across the world. Similarly, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life debuted in the top 10 in every territory.

On the books, cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments totaled $1.73 billion at the end of the quarter, versus $2.31 billion at the end of the previous fiscal year.

Shares of Netflix closed Wednesday at $133.25, with a consensus analyst price target of $127.38 and a 52-week trading range of $79.95 to $135.40. Following the release of the earnings report, the stock was up 8.4% at $144.37 in the after-hours trading session.