Netflix to spend over $1bn in marketing this year

Netflix is rallying ahead of earnings (NFLX)

The results missed estimates of adding 1.5 million domestic subscribers and 3.7 million internationally.

The Netflix website and logo are displayed on laptop computers.

Moving the release of House of Cards season 5 to the second quarter has affected Netflix subscriber numbers in Q1.

Netflix added 1.42m streaming subscribers in the USA and 3.53m elsewhere in the first quarter of 2017, slightly shy of the 1.5m (US) and 3.7m (rest of the world) it had previously told analysts it expected to add. It plans to invest $6 billion in content this year, more than major competitors, including Amazon and CBS. "We are super excited". In fact, free cash flow (FCF) for the company is predicted to hit a remarkable negative $2 billion as compared to 2016's negative FCF of $1.7 billion - a difference of around $300 million.

Netflix says it has dropped because of shift of some of its best-selling shows to the second quarter. "Everybody watches TV and almost everybody has the internet, so I don't see anything that's going to stop Netflix from getting to most people in the United States and then eventually hopefully most people around the world", Hastings said.

"You know, think about it, when you watch a show from Netflix and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night", Hastings said.

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He downplayed competition, saying "entertainment is not a zerosum game" and that it is more about winning fans with content.

Netflix also predicts that the advent of digital distribution services such as Sling, Playstation Vue, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV and Hulu's forthcoming service won't have much of an impact on Netflix business.

Hastings saw Netflix and rival Amazon Prime Video as competing more with people's limited viewing time than they are with one another.

The streaming giant had forecast an addition of 5.2 million new subscribers from January through March 2017, compared with 6.74 million added during those three months a year ago. "The opportunity provided to us by the growth of the global internet is enormous and our plan is to keep investing as we increase membership, revenue and operating margins".

Netflix planned to spend a billion dollars this year on marketing aimed at attracting members.

Netflix noted rapid growth in Latin America, Europe and North America.