Netflix adds 7.41 million subscribers, boosting its stock price

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It's nearly enough to make Netflix doubters like me throw in the towel.

Netflix has hit it out of the park again, reporting the addition of 7.41 million net new global subscribers in the first quarter, up 50% from a year ago and almost 1 million above the consensus prediction of Wall Street analysts. That was an impressive 50 percent increase.

Netflix still adds the most customers every month in the USA, according to analysts' estimates.

Netflix's (NASDAQ:NFLX) stock climbed almost 6% in after-hours trading Monday, as the company posted its first quarter results, which were better than expected due to strong growth in subscribers. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, fifteen have given a hold rating, thirty-five have issued a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company's stock.

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Shares of Netflix stock opened at $311.65 on Monday. The company's net profit margin is 4.8 percent. Its shares had climbed 60 percent this year through Monday's market close in the U.S. On the flip side, the most streamed original Netflix content included Stranger Things season 1, the fifth seasons of Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards, Marvel's Luke Cage, Marvel's The Defenders, Marvel's Iron Fist, 13 Reasons Why, Ozark, Santa Clarita Diet, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Master of None season 2, Narcos season 3, Grace & Frankie season 3, Black Mirror season 3, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 3, and Bojack Horseman season 4.

Investors are focused on subscriber additions because they indicate future revenue growth.

"We've outperformed the business in a way we didn't predict", David Wells, Netflix's CFO, said on a conference call with analysts Monday.

That trend will make it more hard for Spotify to turn a profit, something that the company has never done since its inception in 2007.

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Netflix intends on spending $8 billion on content this year as it faces competition from Amazon.com, Hulu and a plethora of other streamers, not to mention it also competes with traditional cable and broadcast television nowadays. On the books, Netflix has cash and cash equivalents of $2.59 billion at the end of the quarter, versus $2.82 billion at the end of the previous fiscal year.

Netflix can afford it.

"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. Last month, Steven Spielberg said movies that have mere "token" theatrical runs - as Netflix does - shouldn't be in the running for Oscars. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.10 EPS. Those contracts with Shonda Rhimes and other Hollywood heavy hitters are signed in ink. But there's at least one area it's not planning to expand into: news programs. On Thursday, April 12 the stock of Netflix, Inc. Also, insider Tawni Cranz sold 2,170 shares of Netflix stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 7th.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners. She previously was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

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