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Netflix adds 8.8 million global members in Q4'19, beats earnings estimates

Netflix Inc. on Jan. 21 reported global paid membership growth of 20.0% to 167.09 million members in the fourth quarter of 2019, up by 8.76 million members, well outpacing its forecast for 7.6 million paid net additions.

The company attributed the growth to the strong slate of original content during the quarter and the continued worldwide adoption of streaming video.

Growth outside the U.S. and Canada outperformed, with U.S. and Canada adding just 550,000 members during the quarter. The company attributed that to continued churn related to U.S. price increases as well as the launch of competitive streaming services. The Walt Disney Co. launched its Disney+ service in November 2019.

On financials, the company reported quarterly net income of $587.0 million, or $1.30 per share, compared to $133.9 million, or 30 cents per share, in the prior-year quarter. For the full year, net income came to $1.87 billion, or $4.13 per share, compared to $1.21 billion, or $2.68 per share, reported in full year 2018.

The S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus EPS estimate for the fourth quarter and full year were 53 cents and $3.36 per share, respectively.

Netflix's quarterly revenue jumped 31% year over year to $5.47 billion, up from $4.19 billion a year ago. Full-year revenue climbed to $20.16 billion from $15.79 billion in 2018.

The company said it expects first-quarter 2020 net income of $750 million, or $1.66 per share. First-quarter global paid net additions are expected to be 7.0 million, compared to 9.6 million in the first quarter of 2019, which was an all-time high in quarterly paid net addition, the company said.

The company reported a free cash flow deficit of $3.3 billion for the full year 2019, which it said will be the low-water mark for its deficit going forward.