Netflix ( NFLX) beat analysts' estimates and reported reduced subscriber signoffs for the quarter. The mail-order DVD rental house, which last fall
rattled investors with price cuts designed to ward off increased competition, also forecast 2005 revenue on the high side of expectations. Netflix shares, down more than 70% from their 52-week high, jumped 14% in after-hours trading Monday. For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, Netflix reported net income, on the basis of generally accepted accounting principles, of $4.8 million, or 8 cents per share, up from 4 cents a year ago. Excluding stock-based compensation expense, net income amounted to $9.2 million, or 14 cents per share, ahead of the year-ago 9-cent figure and the Thomson First Call consensus estimate of 10 cents. Revenue for the quarter was $143.9 million, up from $81.2 million one year earlier and ahead of the $139 million First Call consensus. Churn -- the number that Netflix calculates for the percentage of subscribers who drop the service each month -- was 4.4%, down from 4.8% in the year-ago quarter and 5.6% in the third quarter of 2004. The company ended the year with 2.61 million subscribers, up from the roughly 2.55 million the company forecast in November. Netflix shares, which ended normal trading Monday at $11.10, up 10 cents, gained $1.56 after hours. Looking ahead, Netflix forecast first-quarter 2005 revenue in the range of $149 million to $154 million, ahead of the $146 million First Call consensus. Full-year revenue, says Netflix, will come in the range of $700 million to $730 million, above the $678 million mean forecast. GAAP net losses, says Netflix, will fall in the range of $16 million to $19 million in the first quarter, but will narrow to a loss in the range of $5 million to $15 million for full-year 2005.