Netflix shares jump 6 percent on strong subscriber growth

Credit Netflix

Credit Netflix

Analysts had cut their price targets for Netflix shares ahead of its earnings report, citing a combination of the strength of the dollar, rising expenses and interest rates.

Investors typically pay more attention to Netflix's quarterly subscriber numbers than its profits, and investors' reaction to those numbers tends to be dramatic.

The streaming company released a record 676 hours of original programming in the third quarter, according to Cowen & Co, the first time it has exceeded 500 hours in any quarter. "However, given Netflix's longtime leadership and extensive content library, competitors will be hard-pressed to build streaming businesses that can aspire to become market leaders". The company added 6.96 million overall paid users, topping Wall Street's expectation of 5.15 million additions, and an internal projection of about five million. Netflix released its first Indian original series, "Sacred Games", in the quarter, as well as new Japanese shows.

The company exceeded forecasts in both US and worldwide markets.

Netflix earned $403m on revenue of $4bn in the quarter. Analysts were looking for $0.68 a share.

Most analysts blamed Netflix's disappointing second quarter on a light programming slate.

Rivals have long groused that Netflix can spend ungodly sums without ever having to make money itself.

As for earnings, Netflix generated $4 billion compared to the $3 billion it took in a year earlier. Netflix doesn't break out its users by market, with the exception of the US, though most analysts agree that the U.K., Brazil, Canada and Mexico rank among the company's largest. Netflix also bundled its Basic subscription plan to postpaid customers who spent more than Rs 1,299 per month.

"More than 80 million accounts have watched one or more of the Summer of Love films globally and we are already in production for the next set of original rom-coms for our members", Hastings wrote.

"We expect solid 3Q18 results, led in part by Netflix adding a record number of Originals programming hours", Blackledge wrote. The number of people paying for cable or satellite has fallen in recent years, denting profit at the world's largest media companies and triggering a wave of mergers.

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.

Is Netflix anxious about competition yet? "The game is on".

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