Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) , whose third-quarter shareholder letter arrives on the afternoon of Oct. 16, is the first of the FANG stocks to report this month. The consensus is for revenue of $2.97 billion (up 30%) and GAAP EPS of $0.32. But Netflix's subscriber adds typically have a much bigger impact on how its stock reacts post-earnings. In July, the company guided for 750,000 Q3 U.S. streaming subscriber adds and 3.65 million international adds.
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Though now available in just about every big foreign market besides China, Netflix only launched its services in large Asian markets such as Japan, India and South Korea in late 2015 or early 2016. Growing penetration rates for these markets is crucial to maintaining Netflix's heady international subscriber growth, which to date has depended primarily on Europe and (to a lesser extent) Latin America.
Netflix doesn't break out international subscriber adds by region, but does at times provide some color on how it's faring in various locales. The company has been stepping up its local content investments for Asian audiences, and said on its Q2 call it would invest more "on the ground" in Asia.
U.S. Subscriber Guidance
On Oct. 5, Netflix disclosed it's hiking prices for its U.S. Standard and Premium plans by $1 and $2 per month, respectively, to $11 and $14. In 2016, the company claimed price hikes for customers previously grandfathered in at lower prices hurt subscriber growth for a while.
Will management guide for a repeat in Q4? For now, the consensus is for Netflix -- aided by seasonality and a strong late-2017 content slate -- to add 1.58 million U.S. subs and 4.39 million international subs in Q4.
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) , as many readers likely are aware, has said it will pull its films off Netflix by decade's end and launch a streaming service in 2019 that will become the exclusive home for Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars films. Look for analysts to press management on how Netflix, which plans to spend $7 billion on content next year and is believed to be paying Disney a small fortune for its content, on how it plans to offset the loss of Disney's shows.
While Netflix's U.S. streaming segment has reported over $2 billion worth of "contribution profits" over the last four quarters, its international segment has lost a little over $100 million. However, international losses did decline to $13 million in Q2 from $69 million a year earlier, and Netflix forecast it would see an international contribution profit for the whole of 2017, based on July's exchange rates. Did it keep the momentum going in Q3?
Free Cash Flow (FCF)
Though Netflix has been officially reporting profits, it's still burning quite a lot of cash due to its massive content investments that have left it with $15.7 billion in streaming content obligations. FCF was negative $2.2 billion during the 12 months ending in June. On average, analysts think FCF was at negative $556 million in Q3.
Do you know where your favorite Netflix show was filmed?
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