Netflix is finally taking India seriously, its earnings numbers show

Credit Netflix

Watch Netflix trade in real time here.

Last month's carrier billing deal with Hathway Broadband will give Hathway subscribers a new set top box with inbuilt Netflix, and a shortcut button on the remote to launch the Netflix app.

Shares have surged more than two-thirds this year and closed on Tuesday at $346.40 in NY, valuing the company at nearly $154bn.

Yesterday we learned that in the United States, Netflix added 1.09 million new subscribers and 3.91 million internationally. That stands in marked contrast to the last three months of 2017, when the share price was barely up 5 percent.

The Netflix executive highlighted the streaming service's varied content palate, with the addition of new animated adult comedies - Disenchantment, from Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and Futurama, and Paradise PD, from the makers of Brickleberry, to complement Big Mouth, Bojack Horseman and F is for Family - and its popular romantic comedies, including To All the Boys I've Loved Before, one of the service's most-viewed original films with strong repeat viewing.

But even at the time, analysts noted that the company tended to follow a pattern of second-quarter dips followed by third-quarter surges; indeed, in the third quarter in 2016, subscriber numbers rose after a second-quarter disappointment. But eventually that will add up, and then this new competitive streaming market wouldn't be any cheaper or offer much more choice than old-school cable bundles do.

KeyBanc Capital Markets' Andy Hargreaves lowered his rating for Netflix shares to Sector Weight from Overweight, citing concerns over the company's long-term profitability.

Yet the company did acknowledge one point of strength: India, where it just released its first original series, "Sacred Games" and "Ghoul".

Hargreaves is less optimistic over the company's ability to raise its profit margins over the long term due to the company's fourth-quarter forecast for contribution profit, a measure of profitability. Analysts were looking for $0.68 a share. Sales grew 34 per cent to US$4 billion, meeting Wall Street forecasts. Netflix doesn't break out its users by market, with the exception of the USA, though most analysts agree that the U.K., Brazil, Canada and Mexico rank among the company's largest.

Jim Nail, analyst at Forrester Research, said the latest figures suggested that the second quarter result had been an "aberration, likely the results of a somewhat low volume of new content".

Rivals have long groused that Netflix can spend ungodly sums without ever having to make money itself.

Hastings, 58, suggested that he wasn't anxious about the competition. "The game is on".

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