Netflix Growth Slows Due To Content Delays

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The company will reach that milestone this weekend if its projections are correct.

Discussing competition, Netflix predicted the launch of new over-the-top subscription TV services in the U.S. - like YouTube TV and Hulu's forthcoming TV offering - will not have "much of an impact" on the business as Netflix is "largely complementary" to pay TV packages. This is a bit less than the company's own projections that saw it predict 5.2 million subscribers in the first quarter - 1.5 million in the USA and 3.7 million internationally.

"A bet on Netflix continues to be a bet on continued high growth, something which certainly isn't guaranteed", Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson said in an online note.

Using HBO as an example, Hastings said while over 10 years Netflix has grown to 50-million, HBO has also continued modest growth - meaning that the growth of one service doesn't necessarily mean the demise of the other. "We have come to see these quarterly variances as mostly noise in the long-term growth trend and adoption of internet TV", he added.

Added together, Netflix now has 98.75 million total subscribers.

However, Netflix forecast 3.2 million more in the seasonally slow second quarter, well ahead of analysts' estimate of almost 2.4 million.

"We definitely see a big opportunity around the world", Hastings said in an interview with analysts that was posted on YouTube. Netflix made the prediction Monday with the release of its first-quarter earnings.

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"We've said previously subsequent seasons of show that are very popular tend to have more impact on the business than introducing brand new IP [intellectual property]", explained Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos during the webcast.

Shares of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) opened at 139.76 on Monday.

In addition, the company reported it had added 4.95 million new subscribers, lower than its own expectations for 5.2 million subscriber additions and consensus expectations of 5.3 million net added subscribers.

Netflix says it plans to operate with about $2 billion in negative cash flow this year to aggressively grow its original content slate. This report covered the first quarter of fiscal year 2017.

Revenue rose 35 per cent to $2.64 billion in the quarter.

In another notable item from its Q1 earnings report, Netflix said it will spend more than $1 billion globally this year "marketing our content to drive member acquisition".