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Oct 17, 2017

Netflix beats subscriber estimates as original shows attract new viewers

Netflix needs better exposure in China to truly be successful, says shareholder

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Shares of Netflix Inc hit a record high on Tuesday as  more subscribers around the globe signed up for its popular original content in the latest quarter.

The video streaming company's shares slipped a bit to $200 after touching a record high of $204.38, spurred by a series of price target increases by brokerages.

Netflix added more subscribers than expected in the third quarter as viewers craved its highly regarded original content and results did not show any new signs of stress, analysts said.

The company added 5.3 million subscribers, beating expectations of 4.5 million.

"We don't see anything on the near-term horizon that is likely to materially slow this momentum," Dougherty & Co analyst Steven Frankel wrote in a client note.

 



With the current quarter's forecast of 6.3 million additions, Netflix's global customer base would be nearly 115.6 million.

The numbers reinforced its dominance in the pay video streaming space with RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney saying it has eight times more subscriptions than the closest competitor.

Mahaney maintained an "outperform" rating and raised the price target on the stock to US$250 from US$210. At that price, Netflix's market value would be well over US$100 billion.

At least nine other brokerages also raised their price targets on the stock.

Netflix has been spending heavily to produce and acquire content as it races to dominate streaming television and beat competition from traditional media and other streaming players such as Hulu and Amazon.com Inc's Prime Video.

Netflix's second-half content slate is led by second seasons of both "Stranger Things" and "The Crown", the second Netflix original David Fincher series entitled "Mindhunter" and the Will Smith original film "Bright".

Earlier this month, the company announced the first rises in monthly fees in two years to fund its spending on original content.

"More members combined with more revenues following the recent price increases deepen the moat around this business," Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne wrote in client note.

He raised the price target to $235 from $225 and maintained an "overweight" rating.

Out of 42 analysts covering the stock, 26 have a "buy" or higher rating, 14 "hold" and two have a "sell" or lower.

Netflix shares had risen about 64 per cent this year.