In recent news, Netflix (NFLX) has experienced a significant increase in its subscriber base during the third quarter, with almost 9 million new subscribers joining the platform.
Alongside this surge in popularity, the company has also announced price hikes in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. This announcement has positively impacted the company’s stock value during after-hours trading.
Starting from today, Netflix will be adjusting the pricing for its Basic and Premium plans in the US. The Basic plan will now cost $11.99, up from the previous price of $9.99, while the Premium plan will be priced at $22.99, a jump from the previous $19.99 cost.
Meanwhile, the $6.99 ad-supported plan and the $15.49 Standard plan will remain unchanged.
Netflix emphasizes that its starting price remains highly competitive compared to other streaming services, citing that $6.99 per month in the US is considerably lower than the average price of a single movie ticket. Notably, this is the first time Netflix has raised its prices since March 2022.
As a result of these developments, Netflix’s stock value saw an increase of over 12% in after-hours trading.
In terms of financial performance, Netflix’s revenue slightly surpassed expectations, reaching $8.54 billion for the quarter. This represents an almost 8% increase compared to the same period the previous year.
The company attributes this growth to various revenue initiatives, including its efforts to combat password sharing and its ad-supported subscription offering.
Looking ahead, Netflix expects to generate $8.69 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter, slightly below the consensus expectation of $8.76 billion.
Furthermore, the company exceeded earnings per share (EPS) estimates, reporting an EPS of $3.73, ahead of the consensus projection of $3.49. In the same quarter the previous year, Netflix’s EPS was $3.10.
Netflix also noted that the adoption of its ad-supported plan has been on the rise, with a 70% increase in membership quarter over quarter, and 30% of users in eligible countries signing up for the ad-supported tier. Nevertheless, the company acknowledges that there is more work to be done to further develop this aspect of the business.
Netflix’s impressive performance is underscored by the addition of 8.8 million new subscribers during the quarter, surpassing expectations of 6.2 million. The company attributes this higher-than-expected growth to the introduction of paid sharing, a robust content library, and its global expansion efforts. In contrast, during the third quarter of 2022, Netflix added just 2.41 million paying subscribers.
Looking ahead, Netflix anticipates that the net additions of subscribers in the fourth quarter will be similar to those in the third quarter.
Despite the increase in paying subscribers, Netflix was unable to boost its average revenue per membership (ARM), which declined by 1% year over year. The company attributes this decrease to several factors, including a higher proportion of subscriber growth in lower-ARM regions, limited price increases over the past 18 months, and some changes in subscription plan preferences.
On the profitability front, Netflix outperformed expectations, with an operating margin of 22.4% for the quarter, surpassing its own projection of 22.2%. The company anticipates that its full-year operating margins will reach 20%, at the upper end of the previous forecast, which ranged between 18% and 20%.
Additionally, free cash flow exceeded expectations, totaling $1.89 billion, surpassing consensus estimates of $1.27 billion. Netflix has raised its full-year free cash flow guidance to $6.5 billion, up from the previous estimate of $5 billion.
The company acknowledges that the last six months have been challenging for the industry due to the combined strikes by writers and actors in the US. While an agreement has been reached with the Writers Guild of America (WGA), negotiations with SAG-AFTRA are still ongoing. Netflix is committed to resolving these issues promptly to allow the industry to resume creating movies and TV shows that audiences will enjoy.
During the actors’ strike, Netflix expects to spend approximately $13 billion on content in the current year. If the SAG strike is resolved in the near future, this budget could increase to $17 billion. In the meantime, the platform will focus on new programming, such as live events.
In its shareholder letter, Netflix also mentioned plans for “substantial changes for 2024” in its executive compensation plan following the rejection of a multi-million dollar executive compensation package by shareholders earlier this year. In 2022, the company spent an estimated $166 million on executive pay.
Netflix’s future seems promising as it continues to gain subscribers and adapt to the changing landscape of the entertainment industry.