Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Netflix - Masters of "Backward Integration"

This past February Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said during an interview with GQ magazine “the goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” The company, once the leader in the DVD mail order rental business has masterfully reengineered itself into the leader in online video streaming. A strategy that appears to be paying off when yesterday the company released its first quarter results and they were much better than analysts expected. Its stock soared 24% in after-hours trading to $215.40 after they announced that it had gained two million new U.S. customers in the first three months of 2013, a total of 29.2 million and a additional 1 million internationally.

At $7.99 per subscription, revenue nearly equaled the full price of the $100 million "House of Cards" series that debuted early this year. So did "House of Cards" lure 2 million more people, alone? That's doubtful and as Piper Jaffray analyst, Michael Olson, told the New York Times, ”It appears original programming may be driving better subscriber numbers. At the least, we believe original exclusive programming is reducing subscriber churn.” A very important factor in the subscription business and a strategy that helped them to edge out HBO in total subs for the first time. That said, Netflix has a ways to go before catching up worldwide. According to SNL Kagan, HBO has 114 million subscribers across the globe, a far cry from the 7.14 million Netflix has outside the U.S. Now... I must get back to my binge-viewing... popcorn anyone?

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