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Netflix keeps growing bigger and faster than anyone expected

Netflix keeps growing bigger and faster than anyone expected
[Photo: courtesy of Netflix]

How much bigger can Netflix get? The video-streaming giant just reported earnings for the fourth quarter of 2017, and the subscriber arrow is once again pointing in the right direction. The company blew past estimates for domestic and international subscriber growth–both are closely watched metrics that indicate whether the creeping presence of competitors like Hulu and Amazon pose a threat to the market leader.

If the last three months of 2017 are any indication, Reed Hastings and his company need not worry—at least not about attracting new viewers. The company added a total of 8.33 million subscribers in the quarter, far higher than the estimates of 6.34 million. More important, subscriber growth in the United States also exceeded expectations, with 1.98 million net additions compared to a StreetAccount estimate of 1.29 million cited by CNBC.

Here are a few other key stats from the report:

  • Total revenue was $3.29 billion, up 33% versus last year
  • Earnings per share were 41 cents, about even with estimates
  • Net income was $186 million, versus $67 million last year
  • Average paid streaming memberships grew 25%, versus last year
  • Global net additions of 8.33 million were the highest quarter on record
  • 24 million new memberships in all of 2017, compared to 19 million in 2016
  • Free cash flow in Q4 was -$524 million, bringing full year free cash flow -$2 billion
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