Netflix shares up on Q4 subscriber additions

Netflix shares up on Q4 subscriber additions

Netflix shown on a smart TV.

Netflix blasted past its own forecasts -- and most of Wall Street's -- by adding more than 5.8 million paying members between October and December 2016.

Investors were impressed, driving the Net TV service's shares to a

The Los Gatos, Calif.-streaming TV service also beat expectations for its fourth-quarter earnings performance with adjusted earnings of 15 cents and net income of  $67 million. Wall Street had expected earnings of 13 cents with net income of $58 million, according to analysts polled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Netflix (NFLX) shares were up more than 8% in after-hours trading to $144.80, a day after hitting a new intraday high of $135.40. The stock closed Wednesday up 0.26% to $133.25.

Netflix's Q4 revenue of $2.35 billion matched its own forecasts, but fell short of analysts' expectations of about $2.5 billion. For the full year, Netflix had global streaming revenue of $8.3 billion, up 35% over 2015.

Netflix added 1.43 million domestic members during the last three months of 2016, beating its internal forecast of 1.15 million new paying subscribers. During the same period last year, the company added 1.33 million. As for new international subscribers, Netflix added 4.39 million, compared to its forecast of 3.35 million paying subscribers. Last year, it added 3.49 million.

Overall, Netflix now has 89.09 million paying members worldwide -- and by adding more than 7 million members total -- has 93.8 million member accounts globally (those numbers include members using the service on a trial basis before paying monthly fees). Overall, Netflix added 19 million new members globally, compared to 17.4 million in 2015.

The October-December quarter marked the 10th anniversary of Netflix's streaming debut -- remember initially it rented DVDs -- and resulted in Netflix's largest ever increase in net additions, the company said. "The next decade will be even more amazing and tumultuous as Internet TV supplants linear TV, and as we strive to remain a leader," said CEO Reed Hastings in a note to shareholders.

For the January-March 2017 quarter, Netflix forecasted slightly slower uptick of 5.2 million global additions, down from the 6.7 million gained in Q1 2016.

Netflix's performance was no surprise to BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield who, in a note to investors Tuesday, increased his forecast for Netflix's global growth in 2017 to 18.8 million new subscribers, up from 15.9 million, and increased the stock's target price to $170 from $130.

"Netflix’s content spend," he wrote, "is accelerating gross adds globally and reducing churn."



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