With Hollywood effectively shut down and much of the world sheltering in place, Netflix added an eye-popping 15.8 million new paying subscribers last quarter. In after-hours trading, Netflix’s stock price rocketed and then crashed back down to Earth.
The streaming giant published the numbers on Tuesday in its first-quarter 2020 earnings report. In it, Netflix said it was “fortunate to have a service that is even more meaningful to people confined at home.” Netflix says it’s currently “seeing temporarily higher viewing and increased membership growth,” but the company warned it expects this to change “as home confinement ends, which we hope is soon.”
Netflix summed up the effects of the coronavirus on its bottom line in three points, saying subscriber growth has “temporarily accelerated,” revenue from subscribers abroad was hit “due to the dollar rising sharply,” and with production on hold, “cash spending on content will be delayed.”
Crucially, Netflix implied that its supply of new movies and shows is not in jeopardy—for now. For the current quarter (Q2 2020), Netflix said it’s “looking forward to releasing all of our originally planned shows and films (with some language dubbing impacts on a few titles).” The company added, “while we’re certainly impacted by the global production pause, we expect to continue to be able to provide a terrific variety of new titles throughout 2020 and 2021.”
Here are the key numbers:
- New subscribers in the U.S. and Canada: 2.3 million
- New subscribers abroad: 13.5 million
- Earnings per share: $1.57
- Revenue: $5.77 billion
Per Yahoo Finance, analysts expected Netflix to report around $5.7 billion in revenue and earnings of $1.64 per share. Netflix itself anticipated it would add 7 million new paying subscribers in the quarter—versus 9.6 million a year ago.
We’ll have more analysis of Netflix earnings after the call.