Netflix Inc Delivers Strong Earnings and International Growth, Sending Shares on a Wild Ride

Netflix shares plunged, then surged in after-hours action, following a solid first-quarter report and early signs of overseas profitability.

Apr 21, 2014 at 4:50PM
Netflix

Image source: Netflix.

Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) just released results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2014. The price of Netflix shares fluctuated wildly on the news, first falling as much as 6.1% before rising 7.8% above Monday's closing price.

Management guidance for the first quarter had pointed to 2.25 million net new domestic subscribers and 1.6 million new international accounts. These numbers had been expected to drive earnings to $0.78 per share. The domestic forecast turned out to be spot-on while Netflix snagged 1.75 million new international accounts in the quarter, thus exceeding the midpoint of official guidance overall.

Netflix now has 35.7 million streaming members in the U.S. and 12.7 million international members.

All in all, Netflix saw revenues increase 24% year over year to $1.27 billion. GAAP earnings per share jumped from $0.05 per share to $0.86 per share.

Revenues were in line with analyst estimates. Netflix exceeded Wall Street's earnings targets by $0.3 per share.

Looking ahead, Netflix cited seasonal patterns and the 2014 FIFA World Cup limiting subscriber additions in the second quarter. The company should add about 0.11 million domestic subscribers and 0.9 million international additions in the current quarter, it said.

Moreover, Netflix now expects the international segment to turn profitable by the end of 2014. However, a "substantial expansion into new European markets," slated for the second half of the year, will drag the division back into red-ink territory.

Expect this pattern to continue as long as Netflix sees new overseas growth opportunities: "As we've discussed in prior investor letters, we intend to continue our international expansion over the coming years, so our near term profits will be quite modest as we invest in this large global opportunity," management said in a prepared statement.

Netflix said it is preparing to raise its Internet video subscription prices by as much as $2 per month this summer for new members. The price increase will be imposed on new customers by July. The company said current U.S. subscribers will continue to pay $7.99 per month for a "generous time period."

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Anders Bylund owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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