Updated from 8:30

Netflix ( NFLX), the DVD-by-mail outfit whose stock has become one of the great bull-and-bear battlefields of the past year, was under heavy pressure Friday morning after missing earnings estimates.

In early trading, the heavily shorted stock was down $6.37, or 19.9%, to $25.63.

The company said Thursday it earned $2.80 million, or 11 cents a share, in the three months to June 30, down from $3.31 million, or 8 cents a share, last year. Revenue rose 90% from a year ago to $120.3 million. Excluding stock-based compensation costs, Netflix earned $7 million, or 11 cents a share, in the latest quarter compared with $5 million, or 8 cents a share, last year.

Analysts had been expecting earnings before stock-based compensation of 13 cents a share on revenue of $119.7 million in the 2004 quarter.

Netflix stock has careened around over the past year, rising from below $15 last summer to nearly $40 in April before the company announced a monthly price hike that knocked it back below $30. The stock, which trades an average of more than 2 million shares a day, regularly rises or falls violently on changes in perceptions of how efficiently the company will add subscribers, and how long it can keep them.

Netflix ended the second quarter of 2004 with 2,093,000 total subscribers, having added 583,000 new trial subscribers during the period, 78% more than it added a year ago. The company spent an average of $35.12 to acquire a new-trial subcriber in the second quarter, up from $30.45 in the year-ago period and unchanged from the first quarter. The company expects new-trial subscriber acquisition costs to be $37 to $39 in the third quarter, reflecting increased spending on television advertising.

Churn, which measures how fast customers leave the service, was 5.6% in the second quarter, unchanged from a year ago and up from 4.7% in the first quarter.

If you liked this article you might like

Spain to Play Netherlands for World Cup

Spain to Play Netherlands for World Cup

Wal-Mart: Analysts' Upgrades, Downgrades

Wal-Mart: Analysts' Upgrades, Downgrades

Netherlands Advances to World Cup Final

Netherlands Advances to World Cup Final

Apple: Analysts' Upgrades, Downgrades

Apple: Analysts' Upgrades, Downgrades

World Markets Mostly Lower Monday

World Markets Mostly Lower Monday