Interactive Investor

ii view: Netflix to stop publishing quarterly subscriber numbers

Now more than 25 years old, this US media giant is today involved in corporate advertising, sports coverage and even gaming. Buy, sell, or hold?

19th April 2024 11:30

by Keith Bowman from interactive investor

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First-quarter results to 31 March

  • Added 9.33 million net new subscribers to a total of 269.6 million
  • Revenue up 14.8% year-over-year to $9.4 billion
  • Earnings per share (EPS) of $5.28, up from $2.88 per share


  • Expects revenues of $9.5 billion for the current second quarter
  • Expects EPS of $4.68 in the current second quarter

ii round-up:

Media mammoth Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) unexpectedly announced it will stop providing quarterly customer subscription numbers in 2025, with management shifting the focus toward sales and profits given its income streams are now more diverse. 

First-quarter customer subscription growth of 9.33 million beat Wall Street hopes for nearer 5 million. So did earnings per share of $5.28 compared to analyst estimates of $4.52. But newly introduced full-year guidance for 2024 revenue growth of 13-15% fell marginally shy of expectations. 

Shares in the Nasdaq 100 company fell 5% in afterhours US trading having come into this latest news up close to 90% over the last year. That’s significantly ahead of a 14% gain for rival streamer The Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) and comfortably more than a one-third gain for the Nasdaq index itself. 

Recent changes made to increase revenue streams have included taking corporate advertising fees given the choice of either the existing non-ad standard customer plan at $15.49 in the US, or the $6.99 monthly plan that includes advertising. 

Other companies such as Facebook owner Meta Platforms Inc Class A (NASDAQ:META) and ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) have also removed monthly active user numbers given what management’s see as their growing maturity. 

Second-quarter revenue at Netflix is expected by management to grow 16% year-over-year to $9.5 billion, with forecast earnings of $4.68 potentially up from 2023’s second quarter $3.29 per share. 

Netflix will continue to offer a breakdown of geographical revenue, along with the occasional customer subscription number given any milestones reached.  

Broker Morgan Stanley reiterated its ‘overweight’ on the shares post the results, flagging a fair value price target of $700.  

ii view:

Headquartered in California, Netflix today has a stock market value of around $260 billion, above both Sky owner Comcast at $157 billion and Walt Disney at $205 billion. Its home North American market generates its biggest slug of sales at around 45%, followed by Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at 31%, Latin America 13% and Asia Pacific the balance of 11%. 

For investors, pressure on consumer spending and including now elevated borrowing costs should not be forgotten. A move to exclude customer subscription numbers reduces investor transparency going forward. Costs for businesses generally are now elevated, while unlike competitors such as Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Comcast Corp Class A (NASDAQ:CMCSA)and ITV (LSE:ITV), Netflix does not currently pay a dividend. 

More favourably, management initiatives to reignite growth do appear successful, with its current operating profit margin up 7 percentage point year-over-year to 28%. A lower cost plan including ads does ease the cost for financially pressed customers. Its recent purchase of rights to show World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) could be just the start of a journey to show sports entertainment, while its gaming business following the previous acquisition of a video games maker remains in its infancy.  

In all, and while this latest news to exclude subscriptions numbers will not be welcome by all, the broad trend from linear TV to streaming is here to stay, with this now established giant of the media world having gained first-mover advantage. 


  • Management initiatives like advertising
  • Geographical diversity


  • Intense competition from Disney, Apple and others
  • Subject to currency movements given overseas customer base

The average rating of stock market analysts:


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