Netflix stock soars on stellar Q3 report

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Netflix shares typically fluctuate widely after earnings, and this quarter was no exception.

Netflix added almost seven million new customers in the three months to September, bringing its total to more than 137 million members worldwide. The company, founded in 1997 as a DVD-by-mail service, posted its strongest years of subscriber growth in 2016 and again in 2017 - in its 20th and 21st years of operation.

Netflix added 1.1 million subscribers in its domestic market, above the 674,000 additions forecast.

The company added 7 million subscribers in the September, exceeding its conservative forecast for 5 million net additions to the service in the third quarter.

Credit agency Moody's recently upgraded its rating on Netflix's debt saying that its steady subscriber growth and gradual price increases would surpass the cost of investment in programming in five years time, if it hits a 20pc margin. The stock rose as much as 17 per cent in after-hours trading to US$405, and the market value of the company once again challenged media giants such as Comcast Corp., the largest USA cable provider, and Walt Disney Co, the world's largest entertainment company.

The future is looking even brighter for Netflix as the video streaming outfit forecast paid net additions of 7.6 million and total net additions of 9.4 million, up 15 percent and 13 percent compared to the 6.6 million and 8.3 million from the year-ago quarter.

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"The question at the end of Q2 was whether that miss was an aberration or signs of a longer-term slowdown in the business", said Forrester Research analyst Jim Nail. Netflix said its bottom line would be weighed down by having to recognize on its income statement the money it's invested in licensing and developing movies and shows, particularly its "Originals".

Netflix demonstrated that its second-quarter miss was an anomaly, reporting record third quarter subscriber growth. "Even the United States number was better than I thought it would be".

The firm's shares are have risen than 65% so far this year.

Netflix never identifies which shows are most successful. Analysts were expecting $4 billion also. The number of people paying for cable or satellite has fallen in recent years, denting profit at the world's largest media companies and triggering a wave of mergers. In the fourth quarter past year, Netflix saw sales of $3.29 billion.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before was a particular standout, as one of the streaming giant's "most viewed original films ever". Netflix has prepared for this, beefing up global programming and production as it approaches a ceiling in the United States.

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