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Netflix shares soar as it announces 6.96m new members

17 October 2018

Netflix is among the first of the major USA tech firms to report earnings. 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. The company, founded in 1997 as a DVD-by-mail service, posted its strongest years of subscriber growth in 2016 and again in 2017 - in its 20th and 21st years of operation. In the same quarter previous year, Netflix pulled in $2.98 billion in sales. Analysts were expecting 4.8 million - 600,000 in the USA and 4.2 million internationally, according to Nomura Instinet.

"There is so much growth ahead in streaming video entertainment, we're going to focus on that for a very long time", Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings said during a pretaped interview with analysts.

Global territories remain the key to the company's future, and accounted for 84 percent of Netflix's new customers in the third quarter.

"The question at the end of Q2 was whether that miss was an aberration or signs of a longer-term slowdown in the business", said Forrester Research analyst Jim Nail.

Netflix had become a hot ticket among tech stocks after cementing its place among the FANGs, a group of lucrative investments including Facebook, Amazon and Google, but it has found itself in an increasingly crowded streaming market. Sales grew 34 percent to $4 billion, meeting Wall Street forecasts.

Total streaming net change for fourth quarter: 9.4 million.

Exclusive television shows such as The Crown and Orange Is The New Black helped Netflix to attract significantly more new subscribers than expected in the third quarter, sending its shares soaring last night.

"We expect solid 3Q18 results, led in part by Netflix adding a record number of Originals programming hours", Blackledge wrote.

In typical Netflix form, the company didn't provide detailed statistics about how many people watched individual titles, nor did it give hard numbers for the size of the audience for To All the Boys. The shares are up 80 per cent this year.

Media companies that once sold programs to Netflix for hundreds of millions of dollars are now building their own on-demand services to compete head on.

Netflix's gains, including those that came in after-market trading Tuesday, have cleared $3.63 billion from the accounts of short sellers so far this year, Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director at financial analytics firm S3 Partners, noted in a tweet. While most of that still funds shows licensed from other companies, original programs account for a growing share.

Netflix shares soar as it announces 6.96m new members