Netflix shares just keep climbing after subscriber growth smashes estimates


Back in July, Netflix reported lower-than-expected subscriber growth for the second quarter, and its shares into a tailspin that knocked 20 percent off their value in a month.

That news broke a streak of five straight quarters in which subscriber growth exceeded expectations. Its global business added almost 5.9 million subscribers, compared with the average analyst estimate of 4.5 million. In the third quarter past year, Netflix posted $2.99 billion in sales. Earnings obliterated Wall Street predictions as well, coming in at 89 cents a share-21 cents above the estimate.

Not only did Netflix tops its projections for subscriber growth in the third quarter, it issued an optimistic outlook for the last three months of the year. Of that total, 1.09 million are based in the US, while 5.87 million are based overseas.

"We feel like we have a long, long runway ahead of us in India", said Peters.

"We recognise we are making huge cash investments in content, and we want to assure our investors that we have the same high confidence in the underlying economics as our cash investments in the past", it said in a letter to investors.

Netflix shares have gained about 81 percent this year and are worth six times what they were at the start of 2015, a reflection of the overwhelming faith investors have in the company's lead in video streaming.

During the September quarter, Netflix added about 676 hours of original programming in the United States, a 135 percent increase from a year earlier, according to Cowen and Co analysts. It's affordable, there aren't any commercial breaks and it has a deep and diverse library of TV shows and movies.

It looks like Netflix is about to but heads with the European Union, as the streaming service has begun calling out Europe's "content quota" plans for online video services.

Hargreaves is less optimistic over the company's ability to raise its profit margins over the long term due to the company's fourth-quarter forecast for contribution profit, a measure of profitability.

"It'll probably still be the case that they're going to stick to raising debt twice a year", he said. Wall Street anticipated earnings per share of 68 cents on sales of $4 billion.

But even at the time, analysts noted that the company tended to follow a pattern of second-quarter dips followed by third-quarter surges; indeed, in the third quarter in 2016, subscriber numbers rose after a second-quarter disappointment.