Netflix records 13.1m subscribers as stock rises
By Oluwaseyi Lawal
Streaming giant, Netflix, has announced the addition of 13.1 million subscribers in the December quarter, marking its highest-ever growth in fourth-quarter subscribers and surpassing the anticipated increase of 8.97 million.
This increases the overall subscriber count to 260 million. Stock shares rose over 5% in after-hours trading, reaching $518.98. Throughout 2023, the stock experienced a 65% gain. Netflix disclosed earnings per share of $2.11, slightly below the expected $2.22 per share according to consensus estimates.
The company attributed the lower per-share earnings to a $239 million noncash loss linked to currency exchange rates. Despite this, revenue surpassed predictions, reaching $8.8 billion, exceeding both forecasts and the company’s guidance of $8.7 billion for the quarter.
The streaming company anticipates robust double-digit revenue growth for the entire year of 2024, driven by ongoing member additions and investments in its advertising sector. While Netflix acknowledges that advertising currently isn’t the main contributor to revenue growth, it aspires to shift this dynamic by 2025.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that Netflix has won the ‘streaming wars,” wrote Bank of America media analyst Jessica Reif Ehrlich.
The company attributed its success to the power of its intellectual property, encompassing offerings such as “Squid Game: The Challenge,” a reality show derived from its most-watched TV series, fresh original series like “All the Light We Cannot See,” feature films such as Zack Snyder’s “Rebel Moon: A Child of Fire,” and non-English-language content like the third season of the French series “Lupin.” It also cited strong demand for licensed titles.
“Looking ahead, despite last year’s strikes pushing back the launch of some titles, we have a big-bold slate for 2024,” the company said.
The company foresees potential further consolidation within the industry, especially among firms with sizable yet diminishing television networks. Netflix clarified its lack of interest in acquiring traditional TV assets. It expressed skepticism about media company deals altering the competitive landscape, citing the numerous mergers already witnessed, but acknowledged the ongoing competition for audience attention, encompassing gaming and social media.
Netflix highlighted opportunities for growth by enhancing its programming lineup, streamlining content discovery, building fan communities, and venturing into new domains like advertising and games. While the gaming sector is still in its infancy, the company noted a threefold increase in engagement.
“The market had already largely priced in an expected double-digit climb in revenue growth, but investors are cheering an even better-than-expected result,” said Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. “The meaningful growth in subscriber numbers is partly a result of password-sharing crackdowns, but is also testament to Netflix’s ability to keep us glued to screens.”