NETFLIX ADDS 8.8 MILLION SUBSCRIBERS IN Q4
Netflix added a net 420,000 streaming customers in the U.S. and 8.33 million overseas in the year-end 2019 quarter, for a total of 8.76 million net adds. Netflix had previously forecast a total of 7.6 million paid net adds for Q4 (600,000 in the U.S. and 7.0 million internationally). Netflix posted revenue of $5.47 billion and earnings per share of $1.30.
Analysts on average had expected $5.45 billion in revenue and EPS of 53 cents. In Q4, Netflix recorded a $437.6 million tax benefit, explaining that it had “over-accrued” U.S. tax payments during the first three quarters of 2019.
The company ended 2019 with 167.1 million streaming customers worldwide including 61 million in the U.S. and 106 million internationally.
In the fourth quarter, Netflix faced the launch of a vigorous new streaming entrant in Disney Plus, signing up an estimated 24 million users in less than a month. Major players marching into the direct-to-consumer streaming space this year include WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock.
Netflix said that in Q4 — despite the big debut of Disney Plus and the launch of Apple TV Plus and recent price changes in the USA — viewing per member grew both globally and in the U.S. on a year-over-year basis.
For the first quarter of 2020, Netflix projected total paid net adds of 7.0 million. That’s lower than the 7.86 million projected by Wall Street analysts and comes off an all-time high of 9.6 million net adds in Q1 2019. Netflix’s financial guidance for Q1 2020 is for revenue of $5.73 billion and earnings per share of $1.66 per share.
Netflix originals released in Q4 included several awards contenders: Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci; “The Two Popes” starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce; and Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver.
Original series that premiered in the quarter included “The Crown” Season 3 and live-action fantasy series “The Witcher” — which is the most-watched TV series season 1 to date with 76 million customers tuning in during the first four weeks. Netflix with these encouraging financial results is all poised to expand its business, especially in Asia Pacific markets.