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8 Metrics Highlight Netflix's Impressive 2018

By Daniel Sparks - Updated Apr 23, 2019 at 12:02AM

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Believe it or not, Netflix's growth accelerated last year.

Netflix (NFLX 2.04%) wrapped up 2018 earlier this month when it released its fourth-quarter and full-year results. The report closed out an impressive year, featuring significant member growth, an expanding operating margin, and rapid revenue growth. Importantly for shareholders, a strong performance during the year helped the stock handily beat the market.

Check out the latest Netflix earnings call transcript.

With the company's fourth-quarter results out and 2019 underway, it's a good time to reflect on the company's success last year. These eight metrics capture the company's wild momentum.

A couple sitting on a couch, watching TV, with a brick wall and light in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.


Throughout 2018, Netflix's stock rose more than 39%. This meant shares significantly outperformed the S&P 500, which declined about 6% during the same period.


Netflix's total 2018 revenue rose 35% year over year. Highlighting the company's solid performance last year, this is an acceleration from the 32% year-over-year revenue growth Netflix saw in 2017.


Netflix's net income skyrocketed in 2018, rising 117% year over year, to $1.2 billion. Also keep in mind that this is up enormously from net income of $187 million in 2016. 

Netflix's $1.2 billion in net income in 2018 translated to $2.68 on a per-share basis. This is up from earnings per share of $1.25 in 2017 and $0.43 in 2016.


Netflix's international streaming revenue jumped 53% in 2018, to $7.8 billion. This meant international streaming revenue accounted for more than half of the company's total streaming revenue.


While Netflix's international segment was the primary driver of the company's growth in 2018, Netflix still saw robust growth domestically. Domestic streaming revenue rose 24% year over year, to $7.6 billion. Impressively, this marked an acceleration compared to growth seen in 2017. Domestic streaming revenue increased 21% year over year in 2017. 

So much for a saturated U.S. market.

139 million

Adding 29 million paid members during 2018, the company finished the year with a total of 139 million paid members. Notably, net member additions were up significantly in 2018 compared to 2017. In 2017, the company's paid members increased by about 22 million.


Going into 2018, management was targeting a 10% operating margin, up from 7% in 2017. The company pulled it off, finishing the year with a 10.2% operating margin.


Netflix expects its operating margin to continue rising in 2018. "Our multi-year plan is to keep significantly growing our content while increasing our revenue faster to expand our operating margins," management said in the company's fourth-quarter shareholder letter. Specifically, Netflix is targeting a full-year operating margin of 13%, up from 10% in 2018.

In 2019, investors should look to see whether Netflix can maintain its momentum internationally and domestically. In addition, investors should watch to see if the company can hit its target operating margin.

Daniel Sparks owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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