Netflix Shares Hit New Highs As Q3 Domestic Sub Growth Beats Estimates

The company closed near an all-time high today — and is up an additional 10% in post-market trading after it released the surprisingly strong Q3 results. Net income of $31.8M is +315% vs last year’s Q3 on revenues of $1.1B, +22.2%. The revenue figure is bull’s-eye with analyst expectations. But net income at 52 cents a share beat forecasts for 49 cents. Netfilx says it will build on that success by doubling its investment in original content in 2014. “Over the next few years we aspire to support creation of some of the most compelling and remarkable content ever produced,” CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells say in a letter to shareholders. Many were especially eager to see the net addition in domestic streaming subscriptions — and here, too, Netflix justified the optimists’ faith. It added nearly 1.3M, ahead of the consensus forecast for 1.16M. With 31.1M total domestic streaming subscriptions, including 29.9M paid, the company can claim to be bigger here than HBO which has about 28.7M. But Hastings and Wells say that “we have a long way to go to match HBO’s 114 million global member count or their well-deserved Emmy Award leadership.” Netflix forecasts that it will end Q4 with as many as 33.5M domestic streaming subs, with as many as 31.8M paid. Analysts expected strong Q3 results based on the popularity of Orange Is The New Black, and increase in its unique visitors and page views in Q3. Subs also continue to grow as Netflix solidifies its reputation as a bargain: At $8 a month, Needham & Co analyst Laura Martin estimates that consumers pay about 20 cents for each hour they watch Netflix vs. about 30 cents an hour for pay TV. In other results, Netflix says that about 7M people in the U.S. rented DVDs at the end of September, down about 360,000 from June. Overseas the company had 9.2M streaming customers, up 1.4M from June.

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