Netflix Stock Falls on Outlook

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Netflix ( NFLX) topped first quarter earnings and revenue forecasts, but issued an outlook that fell short of expectations.

During the quarter, Netflix earned $60.2 million, or $1.11 a share on revenue of $719 million. Wall Street was calling for a profit of $1.03 a share on revenue of $703.6 million.

Netflix added 3.3 million domestic subscribers to end the quarter with 22.8 million users. The company said in January that it had expected to end the quarter with 21.9 million to 22.8 million U.S. subscribers.

Looking at Canada and the U.S. combined, Netflix touted 23.6 million subscribers. Netflix now boasts more subscribers than any other video service in the U.S.

"The virtuous cycle we've mentioned previously of increased investment in streaming content, strong word of mouth and an expanding device ecosystem truly worked for us in the quarter," the company said.

Nonetheless, Netflix foresees second-quarter earnings coming in behind Wall Street's estimates, calling for a profit of 93 cents to $1.15 a share, while analysts predict $1.19 a share. The company is looking for revenue of $778 million to $798 million, ahead of consensus estimates of $763 million.

The company said it will likely end the second quarter with 24.9 million to 25.9 million subscribers.

Shares of Netflix were off more than 5% immediately following the report.

Netflix has spent the first part of 2011 striking new deals to grow its streaming subscription service. This has raised the question as to whether or not content costs will begin to eat away at the company's bottom line.

Earlier in the year, Netflix announced its first foray into original content with the series House of Cards. But this won't be it's only attempt at original streaming content.

"Ideally, we'll license two or three similar, but smaller, deals so we can gain confidence that whatever results we achieve are repeatable," CEO Reed Hastings wrote in his quarterly shareholders' letter today.

--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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