Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the stay-at-home orders that blanketed many parts of the globe last quarter. Consumers stuck at home flocked to the streaming platform in droves, resulting in the best quarter in the tech company's history for subscriber gains.
Even as the lock-downs are beginning to come to a close, many are underestimating the current harvest of members that joined during the second quarter, and one analyst is predicting another blowout.
SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Matthew Thornton posits that Netflix will likely add far more new members this quarter than the company is forecasting, while also coming in well ahead of investor expectations.
Thornton analyzed a combination of search data, app downloads, and regional data, and concludes that Q2 paid member additions is tracking well ahead of expectations, at least through mid-June. His data suggests that Netflix will likely add between 9 million and 12 million new subscribers. To put that in perspective, Netflix management forecast paid net additions for Q2 of 7.5 million, while analysts' consensus estimates clock in at 7.7 million.
I think investors should pay close attention to Thornton's prognostication. Just prior to Netflix's first quarter earnings, I pointed out that Thornton was making one of the most bullish calls on Wall Street, saying "Netflix will report near-record-high subscriber additions of at least 9.5 million, 2.5 million ahead of the company's forecast and two million above analysts' consensus estimates of 7.5 million." At the same time, his bull case called for subscriber additions of 10.7 million to 11.8 million. It turned out even that wasn't even bullish enough, as Netflix added a record 15.77 million subscribers last quarter.
Given how very right Thornton was last quarter, investors should pay heed.