Netflix Soars In Net Income, Subscribers To Rival Cable

Film and TV service Netflix continued its roaring business growth for the first quarter in terms of profitability, revenues and subscribers. But some of this could change for the remainder of 2011.

The Internet and mail-order rental film and TV company -- now at some 23 million customers -- nearly doubled its net income, up 87% for the first quarter to $60.2 million from the previous year. There was major revenue growth as well -- a 46% gain to $718.5 million, versus $493.7 million in the first-quarter 2010.

Netflix is also spending more to promote its service. Its marketing costs during the period grew 39% to $104.3 million, versus $75.2 million. For all of 2010, Netflix marketing costs were at $293.8 million.

Netflix is now at 22.8 million U.S. subscribers -- some 9 million more than a year ago, at a 63.2% gain. Looking at quarter-to-quarter growth, Netflix added 17% in subscribers versus the fourth quarter of 2010. The company is now on par with the biggest U.S cable operators, such as Comcast Corp. which has around 23 million subscribers. Globally, Netflix says it has 23.6 million subscribers.



Recently, Netflix began offering a bare-bones, cheap $7.99 monthly Internet service. Partly as a result, the company's average revenue per subscriber per month dropped almost a dollar versus a year ago -- to $11.97 from $12.90 during the period.

Although the company beat analysts' projections, investors' response was mixed. The company's midday stock price dipped 0.2% to $251.67. Netflix executives warned that future subscriber growth may slow as the costs of securing programming for its online viewing service increases.

The company expects 24 million to 24.8 million customers at the end of the second quarter, with net profit of $50 million to $62 million and revenue of $762 million to $778 million.

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