Netflix Inc. (NFLX - Get Report) shares opened at the highest level in three months Wednesday after the online streaming entertainment service smashed Wall Street forecasts for subscriber additions and calmed tech-sector nerves with stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings.
Netflix said 6.96 million people signed up for its monthly streaming website, well ahead of the 5 million Street forecast, with nearly 6 million of the additions coming from markets outside of the United States. Earnings for the three months ending in September were also impressive, rising to 89 cents per share and sounding topping the consensus forecast of 68 cents. Group revenues of $4 billion were bang in-line with forecasts.
Netflix shares were marked 7.6% at the opening bell and changing hands at $372.57 each, the highest since July 17 and a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date gain past 80%.
Netflix has been attempting to reassure investors that its second quarter subscriber additions of 5 million, which missed analysts' forecasts, were a abberition and not part of a larger pattern of declining growth, which would add further pressure to the group's ability to cover the cost of content acquisition and creation, which is expected to reach $8 billion this year and $9 billion in 2019.
Its streaming platform may also find increasing competition from new entrants such as Walt Disney Co. (DIS - Get Report) and the recent acquisition of Britain's Sky Plc, the biggest pay-TV group in Europe, by Comcast Corp. (CMCSA - Get Report) .
"There are so many competitors, of course Disney is going to enter, AT&T is going to expand HBO, YouTube is just on fire growing around the world, video gaming like Fortnite," CEO Reed Hastings told investors on a conference call late Tuesday. "I mean there's so many ways to have great entertainment on a screen."
"So we don't focus that much in any one because no one seems to affect us that much. What affects us is can we produce the best content the world's ever seen?," he added. "Can we get people excited about that content? Can we serve it up in ways that make it really fun and easy, again focusing on our fundamentals?"