Netflix shares head for new high after strong subscriber outlook
By Lisa Richwine and Narottam Medhora
(Reuters) - Netflix Inc made a bullish forecast for subscriber additions by mid-year, a positive sign for its push to expand around the world that sent its shares toward an all-time high.
The streaming video company pushed back the next season of its smash-hit "House of Cards," and other programing to the second quarter, meaning it lured in fewer new subscribers in the first quarter than expected, but will likely make it up from April through June.
Subscriber rolls, the most closely watched measure of Netflix's growth, rose by just under 5 million globally in the first quarter, behind analysts' projection of 5.18 million, according to FactSet StreetAccount.
However, Netflix forecast 3.2 million more in the seasonally slow second quarter, well ahead of analysts' estimate of nearly 2.4 million.
Its shares dropped as much as 3 percent in after-hours trading before rebounding to gain 1.3 percent. The late rise put Netflix stock on track to open at a record high on Tuesday.
A decade after shaking up Hollywood by delivering TV shows and movies over the internet, the company said it expects to top 100 million global subscribers this weekend.
Netflix has expanded around the world over the last few years, betting that its U.S. formula would pay off in other countries. Opening in new markets and creating shows in additional languages was an expensive proposition.
Chief Executive Reed Hastings urged investors to look at its growth over time rather than quarter-by-quarter fluctuations. Continued...