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3 Things You'll Want to Know When Netflix Reports Earnings on Tuesday

By Parkev Tatevosian - Apr 16, 2021 at 10:14AM

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The streaming-content leader may update on subscriber totals and pricing in its first-quarter earnings report.

Netflix (NFLX -0.98%) is set to report first-quarter earnings on Tuesday, April 20. Consumers are still finding its streaming service desirable, even as economies are reopening worldwide. This pioneer in this tech sector remains the leader in streaming subscriber count, although that lead is shrinking as competitors enter the fray.

Investors will be tuned in to see how Netflix reacts as competitors are throwing more and more resources into their streaming services. Analysts and investors will be listening for comments on several aspects of the business, but here are three things you'll want to take away when the company reports first-quarter results next week. 

The Netflix app displayed on a device.

Netflix surpasses the 200 million subscriber milestone. Image source: Netflix.

Netflix should update on subscribers, profit margins, and pricing

First, you'll want to know how many new subscribers Netflix added in the quarter and the overall total. The company told investors it expected to add 6 million new subscribers in the quarter, which would take their overall total to 209 million. That should be enough to keep Netflix the leader in terms of overall streaming subscriptions. Rivals are close on its heels, with Walt Disney being the closest at over 150 million paying members across its various streaming services.

Second, you'll want to know what level of operating profit margin is achieved. Netflix expects to report an operating profit margin of 25%, which would be a substantial increase from 16.6% in the year prior.

As it adds members, it increases profit margins because it can spread its expenses among more people. The incremental cost to Netflix of a new member is small. It doesn't cost the company much more if 11 million people are streaming content versus 10 million people.

Third, you'll want to hear what management has to say about implementing price increases and stricter account-sharing practices. Multiple households sharing the same Netflix account is a known thing. You might be upset that I'm talking about it, fearing I might alter the status quo, but Netflix already knows about account sharing. It's hinted at implementing technology that will reduce this phenomenon, and this might be the quarter where it announces the change. 

Demand for streaming content surged during the pandemic. However, Netflix decided that it wasn't the right time to raise prices on individuals. Investors will be interested in knowing when the next price increases will happen. A $1 per-month increase across all its members would add over $24 billion annualized revenue to Netflix. 

What this could mean for investors

Analysts on Wall Street expect Netflix to report revenue of $7.13 billion and earnings per share of $2.98, which would be year-over-year increases of 23.6% and 89.8%, respectively. Analysts' expectations and management guidance on revenue and earnings are nearly identical, which is not always the case. At times, analysts believe that management has guided too conservatively or aggressively.

That being said, over the last four quarters, Netflix's earnings have come in surprisingly below management's guidance. If earnings come in far below expectations again, it could send shares of the streaming giant lower. Still, investors who are enthusiastic about Netflix's long-term prospects can treat any pullback in share price as a buying opportunity. 

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