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Netflix up on in-line earnings, expanded subscriber base

Streaming media giant clocked earnings growth thanks to international subscriber gains
A computer screen displaying a slew of Netflix programs
Netflix is facing more domestic competition from services including Hulu and Alphabet Inc.'s YouTube.

Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) shares jumped 6.5% in after-hours trading Monday as the video streaming giant reported better profit and subscriber additions both at home and in international markets. 

Netflix reported first quarter earnings of US$0.64 per share on revenue of US$3.7bln from the year-earlier quarter. The Earnings Whisper number was US$0.63 per share.

There was plenty of good news in the quarterly earnings report with international subscriber growth rocketing.

Netflix shares surged 6.5% to $328 after hours.

Investors cheered growth in subscriber numbers to 7.4 million with Netflix adding 1.96 million new users in the US, and 5.46 million internationally. 

The company also projected 6.2 million additions in the current quarter, while analysts on average were expecting 5.6 million, according to FactSet.

Netflix has changed the industry in a “profound way,” giving it a “significant” lead and making it difficult for traditional media companies to catch up, cited Deutche Bank analyst Bryan Kraft as saying. Kraft increased his rating to Buy from Hold and raised his price target for the stock to US$350 from US$240, it said.

Separately, J.P. Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth raised the 12-month price target on Netflix to US$328.

"Importantly, we believe [Netflix] will continue to drive and benefit from the ongoing disruption of linear TV, supported by an ever-expanding base of high quality original content, with NFLX adding more [subscriptions] in 2018 (25 million) than 2017 (23.8 million) and reaching about 200 million global subscriptions by 2021," Anmuth wrote in a note to clients.

J.P. Morgan pointed out that Netflix is “more insulated” from regulatory and data-privacy concerns than other large-cap technology stocks like Facebook.

Netflix has been focused on garnering more international customers as US subscriber growth slows amid Streaming media company has been targeting international growth amid competition at home from services including Hulu and Alphabet Inc.'s (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube.

The California-based company has said its investment into original programming in recent years is paying off, culminating in a record 8.3 million subscribers being added in the three months to the end of December.

Viewers were drawn in by new seasons of shows including The Crown and Stranger Things – with the latter cementing its place as a “global phenomenon” following the release of its second series.

-- Stephen Taylor contributed to the story.  

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