The streaming media company’s stock is down about 10% in initial postmarket trading after it reported mixed results for Q1 — but with a forecast for Q2 that’s more anemic than analysts expected.
Netflix reported net income of $27.7 million in Q1, up 16.7% vs the period in 2015, on revenues of $1.96 billion, up 24.5%. Analysts expected Netflix to report revenues of $1.97 billion. Earnings at 6 cents a share beat forecasts for 3 cents.
But the company disappointed with its forecast for subscription growth in the current quarter. It says it expects to add 500,000 domestic customers, below Wall Street’s expectations for more than 600,000. It also predicts it will add 2 million international subscribers, lower than the 2.89 million analysts anticipated.
In January, Netflix launched in 130 new markets including India, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia.
China is still not in the mix. Netflix says in a letter to shareholders that it’s in “continuing discussions” but has “no material update on our approach or timing.”
The lower-than-expected domestic growth might indicate that Netflix has less flexibility to raise prices than many thought. It announced a $2 price increase for its standard tier to $9.99 a month in May 2014 — but said it would hold the price at $7.99 for existing customers for two years. That period is about to expire.
Netflix won’t “change anyone’s price without their acknowledgement of the new price in their member experience, where they will see a dialogue box about their options,” the company says in a letter to shareholders. “We are rolling this out slowly over the year, rather than mostly in May, so we can learn as we go.”
The profit from U.S. streaming might drop by 2.4% vs Q1 to $403 million. The company says that the decline is “due to a large slate of content releases and associated marketing” and growth in its profit margin should “resume in Q3.”
Netflix will upload new seasons of seven original series in Q2 including Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Bloodline, Grace And Frankie, and Orange Is the New Black. Chelesa Handler’s talk show, Chelsea, also will debut.
On the film side, Netflix will have Adam Sandler’s second film for the company, The Do-Over, as well as Special Correspondents with Ricky Gervais, Paul Rudd’s The Fundamentals of Caring and Indian director Q’s Braham Naman.
“We are investing about 5% of our cash content budget in original films,” the company says. “As we learn, we may spend beyond that, once we’ve established that new, fully exclusive movies debuting on Netflix creates more consumer excitement and member viewing than the territory-by-territory licensing of nine-month-old ‘Pay one’ movies that are also available on [TV video on demand] and DVD.”
Netflix ended Q1 with nearly 47 million domestic customers, up 2.23 million. It also had 34.5 million international subs, up 4.51 million.
Netflix shares soared more than 134% in 2015. But they’ve slipped 6.8% so far in 2016 as investors question the company’s ability to profit from its investments in new programming and overseas expansion.
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