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Netflix nears 100 million subscribers worldwide

19 April 2017
Netflix nears 100 million subscribers worldwide

That brings Netflix's total subscriber base about 1.2 million shy of the 100 million mark.

Helped by a rally in technology stocks, Netflix has soared 15 percent this year. The company said it had nearly 99 million global streaming subscribers at the end of March.

Chief content officer Ted Sarandos said that Netflix is pursuing more projects like Bright that look and feel like movies you would watch in theaters. The first quarter, lighter on new releases, was the company's most profitable ever and the first time worldwide operations made money.

The Los Gatos, California company now has a market value of about $63 billion. But according to the first notes to clients Tuesday morning, analysts believes Netflix is being conservative, even with that better-than-expected forecast.

Responding to the emergence of "virtual MVPDs" like Sling, YouTube TV and Hulu's upcoming OTT service, the shareholder letter noted: "We believe VMVPDs will likely be more directly competitive to existing MVPD services since they offer a subset of the same channels at $30 to $60 per month, and may appeal to a segment of the population that doesn't subscribe to a pay-TV bundle".

Netflix's stellar stock performance has so far hinged on its ability to continually add new subscribers. Netflix's services extend from $8 to $12 a month, with the most economical option at $10.

It said that since its subscribers are funding its original films, they should be the first to see them.

Pachter and other analysts wonder how long Netflix will be able to hold the line on price as its programming costs rise in tandem with its appeal to a more diverse worldwide audience.

As it is, Netflix expects to spend about $6 billion on programming this year. It lost some long-time USA subscribers after their rates went up by as much as $2 per month past year.

But if it wants to keep investors happy, the company will eventually have to improve its relatively low profit margin.

In Q1, the company reported USA streaming revenues of $1.5 billion and $1.05 billion coming from the worldwide market.

Netflix reported first-quarter customer numbers slightly below expectations, but said it still sees "gigantic" potential for global growth.