Shares of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) fell roughly 13% after the bell as investors jeered third-quarter results that came short of estimates. Here's a closer look at the Q3 totals versus Wall Street's projections:
|NFLX||Revenue||YOY Growth||EPS||YOY Growth|
|Consensus estimate||$1,750.52 million||24.2%||$0.08||(42.9%)|
|Q3 actual||$1,738.36 million||23.3%||$0.07||(50%)|
|DIFFERENCE|| ($12.16 million)
Commenting on the results in the company's quarterly letter to investors, CEO Reed Hastings said:
While global growth was as we expected, our forecast was high for the US and low for international. We added 0.88 million new US members in the quarter compared to 0.98 million prior year and a forecast of 1.15 million. Our over-forecast in the US for Q3 was due to slightly higher-than-expected involuntary churn (inability to collect), which we believe was driven in part by the ongoing transition to chip-based credit and debit cards. In terms of US net additions, through the first nine months of 2015, we are slightly ahead of prior year, and we expect to finish 2015 at about 2014 levels. This would mark the 4th consecutive year we've added about 6 million members in the US.
What went right: Net additions continue to outperform globally (3.62 million versus 3.55 million forecast) despite slight underperformance in the U.S. (0.88 million versus 1.15 million forecast). Also, in August, Netflix raised prices on its "high-definition, 2-screen monthly price plan" without impacting growth. A more recent price hike in the U.S. looks equally promising.
What went wrong: Both revenue and profit came in below estimates due to weakness in the streaming business. Netflix booked $1,581 million in streaming revenue, well below the $1,593 million Hastings and team guided to in reporting second-quarter earnings. On the plus side, streaming contribution profit ($277 million vs. $272 million estimated) and margin (17.5% versus 17.1%) came in slightly ahead of internal estimates, but not enough to keep Netflix from missing Wall Street's earnings target by a penny.
What's next: Looking ahead, Netflix expects $1,667 million in global streaming revenue in the fourth quarter, resulting in $257 million in contribution profit and 5.15 million in net new memberships. Overall, Hastings and his team are guiding for $49 million in operating profit and $10 million in net income, or $0.02 a share for Q4. Analysts tracked by S&P Capital IQ were projecting the company to generate $1,858.72 million in revenue and $0.03 a share in adjusted earnings . That compares with $1,484.73 million and $0.10 a share in last year's Q4.
Longer term, analysts have Netflix growing earnings by an average of 43.28% annually during the next three to five years.
In the meantime, investors should focus on the membership tally as price increases take hold around the world. Establishing a pattern of meager, but regular, raises would help margins, cash flow, and ultimately the stock price.