Netflix Explodes With Q4 Earnings

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Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) reported fourth quarter financial results after markets closed on Monday. The company said that it had $0.41 in earnings per share (EPS) and $3.29 billion in revenue, compared with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters that called for $0.41 in EPS and $3.28 billion in revenue. The same period from last year had $0.15 in EPS and $2.48 billion in revenue.

During the quarter, Netflix registered global net adds of 8.3 million, the highest quarter in its history and up 18% compared to last year’s record 7.05 million net adds. This exceeded the 6.3 million forecast due primarily to stronger than expected subscriber acquisition fueled by its original content slate and the ongoing global adoption of internet entertainment.

In the U.S., memberships rose by 2.0 million, versus the forecast of 1.25 million. Average selling price (ASP) rose 5% in this time as well.

Internationally, Netflix added 6.36 million memberships, compared with guidance of 5.05 million, a new record for quarterly net adds for this segment. Excluding a foreign exchange impact of +$43 million, international revenue and ASP grew 59% and 12% year over year, respectively.

In terms of guidance, the company expects to see global net adds of 6.35 million in the first quarter, compared to 5.0 million last year. This is comprised of 1.45 million in the U.S. and 4.90 million internationally.

There are consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters calling for $0.56 in EPS and $3.49 billion in revenue for the coming quarter.

In the letter to shareholders, Netflix addressed its growing competition:

We have been talking about the transition from linear to streaming for the past 10 years. As this trend becomes increasingly evident, more companies are entering the market for premium video content. On the commercial-free tech side, Amazon Studios is likely to bring in a strong new leader given their large content budgets, and Apple is growing its programming, which we presume will either be bundled with Apple Music or with iOS.

Facebook and YouTube are expanding and competing in free ad-supported video content. With their multi-billion global audiences, free ad-supported internet video is a big force in the market for entertainment time, as well as a great advertising vehicle for Netflix.

Shares of Netflix closed Monday up about 3% at $227.58, with a consensus analyst price target of $222.73 and a 52-week range of $137.03 to $227.79. Following the announcement, the stock was up 8% at $246.21 in the after-hours trading session.