Netflix More Than Doubles Estimates, Adds 16M Net New Subs In Q1 Marked By Pandemic Viewing Burst

Joe Exotic in 'Tiger King'

The nation’s favorite stay-at-home stock added 15.8 million subscribers in the first quarter, blowing through estimates as more viewers than even the most bullish imagined logged on to top off total subs at 183 million globally. In its latest financial report, which kicks of earnings season, Netflix anticipated adding 7.5 million more net new subscribers in the current second quarter to hit 190 million.

The streamer’s shares have gained about 30% for the year to date, contrasting sharply with the broader market and with other showbiz stocks that have varied assets devastated by the pandemic, from theme parks to sports to advertising. Netflix, in comparison, is a pure-play subscription service with vast stores of global programming. Last week, it set a high when it surpassed both the Walt Disney Company and Comcast in market cap.

Quarterly revenue of $5.7 billion was in line with company guidance, and earnings per share at $1.57 was a bit lower than $1.66 anticipated. But the subscriber number was a blowout — the company had estimated 7 million net ads. Breaking the figures out by regions, Netflix added 2.3 million net subs in U.S. and Canada to hit 70 million; it added 6.9 million across Europe, the Middle East and Africa to 59 million; it added 2.9 million subs in Latin America to 34 million; and added 3.6 million subs in Asia-Pacific to 20 million.

‘Love Is Blind,’ ‘Ozark’, ‘Spenser Confidential’ Viewing Shows Netflix Firing On All Fronts

The first quarter reflected less than a full month of stay-at-home orders, which hit in mid-March (March 19 in California and March 22 in New York). But momentum during the virus-forced shutdown was fast, reflected in the speed with which the Netflix docuseries Tiger King raced to national prominence.

With production halted, Netflix, like its programming peers, will feel the pinch of a lack of new shows in the pipeline. But with its deep bench the consensus is that it’s not facing a crunch any time soon.

Nice way to start earnings season, But it’s unlikely to continue as other media companies step up.

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