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Netflix just keeps growing larger than anyone predicted it would

Netflix just keeps growing larger than anyone predicted it would
[Photo: Angelo Pantazis/Unsplash]

Analysts keep setting the ceiling and Netflix keeps crashing through it.

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The video streaming giant said today it added an impressive 5.87 million global subscribers in the third quarter of 2018, far higher than a FactSet estimate of 4.46 million cited by CNBC. Domestically, Netflix added 1.09 million subscribers, compared to an estimate of 673,800.

All told, the Los Gatos, California, company now has more than 137 million subscribers around the world, including 130 million paid members.

Netflix shares soared in after-hours trading after the earnings beat, topping $398.

According to the company, the future looks even brighter. Netflix said it expects subscribers to grow by another 9.4 million in the fourth quarter, up 13% compared to last year.

Here are a few key points from the company’s Q3 report:

  • Revenue: $4 billion, compared to $3 billion a year ago
  • Diluted earnings per share: 89¢, compared to 29¢ a year ago
  • Total streaming additions: 6.96 million, compared to 5.3 million a year ago
  • Long-term debt: $8.3 billion, compared to $6.5 billion at the end of 2017

Now let’s take a second to ponder that last bullet point because it’s not great. Netflix’s ballooning debts have become an increasing concern among some analysts and investors, especially as it bulks up in the face of creeping competition from Disney and now AT&T. And while it’s seen its share of healthy growth spurts over the last several quarters, the company significantly missed its subscriber forecasts just three months ago, sending shares in a free fall.

For today, at least, none of that seems to be slowing Netflix down. In a letter to shareholders, CEO Reed Hastings and other executives attributed its third-quarter success in part to a strong content slate that included new seasons of ​Orange Is the New Black​, ​Ozark​, and Marvel’s Luke Cage​.

Of course, the quarter also attracted its share of controversy, including the debut of Insatiable, which earned accusations of fat-shaming. And then there were Norm MacDonald’s ill-advised comments about the #MeToo movement as he was promoting his Netflix show Norm MacDonald Has a Show. Does he still have one? Strangely, it wasn’t mentioned in today’s report.

You can read the full report here.

[Screenshot via Netflix]
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