Netflix stock soars toward two-year-high as subscribers surge

Investing

Netflix tallied its strongest year ever in 2023 by a host of metrics shared in its earnings report Tuesday afternoon, as the entertainment giant asserts its dominance amid a rocky stretch for streamers and the market buys back into the company’s growth narrative.
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Netflix has resumed subscriber and profit growth after a chilly 2022.

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Key Takeaways
  • Netflix reported $8.8 billion of sales and $2.11 earnings per share in the three-month period ending December 31, comparing to consensus analyst estimates of $8.7 billion and $2.22, according to FactSet.
  • That caps a blockbuster year financially for Netflix, as its $33.7 billion of total revenue and its $5.4 billion of net profits were each by far the highest top- and bottom-line annual results in the company’s history.
  • Helping Netflix record its record results was strong user growth amid the company’s password sharing crackdowns; its near 30 million of net user additions in 2023 was its best growth since 2020, while its 13.1 million of net users added during Q4 easily topped analyst estimates of 8.7 million.
  • Shares of Netflix surged more than 6% in after-hours activity following the positive surprise in subscriber base growth, trading at about $525, which would be their highest level since early 2022.
  • Still, Netflix’s stock has significant scars from its 2021-22 destruction, as shares remain down almost 25% from their all-time high even after more than doubling over the last 18 months.
Surprising Fact

The fourth quarter of 2023 was Netflix’s most explosive period for subscriber growth since Q1 2020 amid stay-at-home orders tied to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Big Number

80.1 million. That’s how many paid Netflix subscribers there are in the U.S. and Canada, according to the company. That’s more than a fifth of the total population between the two countries.

Crucial Quote

“It is becoming increasingly clear that Netflix has won the ‘streaming wars,’” Bank of America analysts led by Jessica Reif Ehrlich wrote in a note to clients last week.

Key Background

Netflix’s record year followed a brutal 2022 for the company, highlighted by its first quarterly subscriber losses in a decade and its first annual decline in net income 2015. The streaming industry got crushed in 2022 as few services translated user growth to profits, other than Netflix. Accordingly, Netflix’s 30% drawdown from its 2021 peak is far less than the losses suffered by many of its peers. Shares of Disney, HBO parent Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global are all down more than 50% from their respective 2021 peaks.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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