Netflix eyes continued growth as analysts predict Q2 guidance is conservative

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings expects the next 100 million subscribers to come more quickly than the first 100 million, but he didn't provide a specific timetable during online video review of the company's first quarter.

Sequentially U.S. subscription additions of 1.42 million was far below fourth-quarter additions of 1.93 million and even further below additions of 2.23 million in the first quarter of past year.

The Los Gatos, California company now has a market value of about $63 billion.

The streaming firm had 98.75 million subscribers at the end of the first quarter.

Previously the company had projected net gains of 1.5 million in the U.S. and 3.7 million internationally.

At the same time, Netflix is still a ways behind pay-TV channel HBO (with 134 million global subscribers) but HBO saw a quick spurt of growth after adopting an internet-only option (somewhat inspired by the success of Netflix). Global net additions were down from 5.1 million in the previous quarter to 3.5 million. First-quarter results also compare to consensus estimates for EPS of $0.37 and $2.64 billion in revenues. Especially considering Netflix provided better-than-expected guidance for Q2 subscriber adds.

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Netflix announced previous year that it was going to invest $6 billion into developing original series and movies with the goal to make about 50 percent of its content original.

Netflix expects to add 2.6 million subscribers internationally next quarter - it launched in 130 additional countries a year ago - and 600,000 subscribers in the USA, both which exceed analyst estimates.

For the quarter that ended March 31, Netflix added 3.53 million subscribers outside the United States. On the top line, sales of $2.64 billion were right on par with estimates.

Its shares dropped as much as 3 per cent in after-hours trading before rebounding to gain 1.3 per cent. The company reiterated that it expects to burn $2 billion of cash in 2017 and stated "we anticipate negative FCF to accompany our rapid growth for many years".

"We're happy with the 41.3 percent lift in NFLX since last October, but continue to believe it's not too late for large-cap growth PMs to take new positions in what remains one of the only true large-cap growth stories in Media", the firm said.