Netflix shares rose as much as 18% in premarket trading after last night’s tremendous earnings beat. As a result of those strong results, analysts from at least two firms have increased their price targets for the video content streaming service.
The company posted non-GAAP earnings of 72 cents per share, which was well ahead of the consensus estimate of 45 cents per share.
Netflix beats on subscriber growth
In last night’s earnings report, Netflix reported 2.43 million international net adds during the December quarter, which brings its total subscribership to 18.3 million. That’s approximately 10% higher than Wall Street estimates and even management’s guidance of 2.15 million.
Domestic net adds were 1.9 million, which was approximately a 4% beat. However, management did warn investors that domestic growth is slowing due to a “natural progression.” For the current quarter, they expect domestic net adds of 1.8 million and pointed out that this number will be less predictable than international subscriber growth.
Netflix management also offered an update on the effects of this past May’s price increase. They said the increase was not actually the reason they reported weaker-than-expected domestic subscriber adds in the third quarter. They said more data from lower income markets in the U.S. and Mexico suggest that there’s a minimal amount of “pricing elasticity.”
Another area of strength was in margins, as Netflix guided for 30% in the current quarter compared to last year’s 25%. Management expects margins to grow by about 200 basis points every year, this bringing domestic margins to 40% by 2020.
Evercore ISI ups Netflix price target to $450
In a report dated Jan. 20, Evercore ISI analysts Ken Sena, Conor McDade and Andrew McNellis point out that in addition to strong numbers and guidance, Netflix management also had some very positive comments. Management believes they will be able to finish their global expansion while remaining profitable. This will enable the company’s international segment to start generating “material global profits” in 2017.
The Evercore ISI team raised their price target from $430 to $450 per share based on Netflix’s better-than-expected international growth. However, they continue to rate the video streaming provider at Hold based on the balance of the international opportunity and slower-than-expected domestic subscriber growth plus higher content pricing from the competition.
Goldman Sachs raises Netflix price target to $460
In their report also dated Jan. 20, Goldman Sachs analyst Heath Terry and his team offered their revised estimates as well as their increased price target, which moved from $410 to $460 per share. They continue to remain Buy-rated on Netflix stock.
They bumped up their 2015 to 2017 revenue estimates by 3% but cut their adjusted EBITDA estimates by 40% on average. The estimate revisions are the result of the acceleration in international expansion and higher investments in marketing and content.