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Netflix subscriber base up 4.3 mn at 57.4 mn end 2014

21 January 2015

By the end of last year Netflix had counted 57.4 million subscribers, up 4.3 million from the third quarter - its strongest subscriber growth all year, reported.

Fourth quarter revenue touched $1.48 billion, in line with analysts expectations of  a 26-per cent year-on-year increase. The company counted more overseas streaming subcribers than in the US, its home country (1.9 million), for the third quarter in a row.

The company expects to pass 60 million members for the first time this quarter, finishing Q1 with 61.4 million subscribers worldwide.

The figures showed that Netflix's international expansion was starting to work as CEO Reed Hastings noted in the company's Q4 letter to shareholders that overseas growth exceeded expectations, and the company was now expanding faster than earlier anticipated.

''Our international expansion strategy over the last few years has been to expand as fast as we can while staying profitable on a global basis. Progress has been so strong that we now believe we can complete our global expansion over the next two years, while staying profitable, which is earlier than we expected. We then intend to generate material global profits from 2017 onwards.''

Australia and New Zealand would be next in line for focus on growth. 

Meanwhile, TechCrunch reported that people who lived in countries that still did not have Netflix, might not have to wait long. The company said in the shareholder letter accompanying its most recent earnings report, ''We now believe we can complete our global expansion over the next two years.''

The letter said Netflix had launched in around 50 countries but had plans for ''acceleration to 200 countries.'' The company would be launching in Australia and New Zealand towards the end of the first quarter.

Elsewhere in the letter, the company touched on one strategy that was probably helping, namely partnering with cable and satellite TV operators in Europe.

According to Netflix it had a good idea of the best approach in each new market, though it also acknowledged that it would probably make mistakes along the way.

As regards China the company said, ''For China, we are still exploring options - all of them modest. We'll learn a great deal if we can successfully operate a small service in China centered on our original and other globally-licensed content. That is our preference, for the next few years, if we are able to acquire the necessary permissions.''

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