Netflix posted strong Q3 results. In July-September, the number of subscribers to paid services increased by 4.4 million – to 213.6 million, which is much better than both the management’s forecast of 3.5 million and our expectations of 3.63 million. Nevertheless, the results did not become for us a big surprise, since we assumed that the Covid factor and the seasonally favorable period could provide significant support for the growth of the subscriber base. The strong growth in subscribers was driven in part by an increase of 2.2 million subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region and 1.8 million in the EMEA region, which includes Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The new Squid Game is Netflix’s most watched TV series. It was viewed by 142 million subscribers in the first four weeks after its release. The Squid Game ranks first in popularity in the service in 94 countries, including the United States.
The company’s revenue in the last quarter reached $ 7.48 billion against $ 6.44 billion a year earlier, which almost coincided with market expectations. Netflix’s July-September net income was $ 1.45 billion, or $ 3.19 per share, well above market expectations of $ 2.56 per share. For comparison, in the third quarter of last year, the company earned $ 790 million, or $ 1.74 per share. Netflix predicts an 8.5 million increase in fourth-quarter users, while market consensus predicts an 8.4 million increase. In the last quarter of the year, Netflix plans to increase its net income by 16.1% from a year ago, to $ 7.7 billion, or $ 0.8 per share. In the 4th quarter, the company intends to buy back its own shares from the market for $ 100 million against $ 500 million in the third quarter. By the end of 2022, Netflix plans to generate positive free cash flow, as well as keep the indicator in the positive zone in the medium term. We like the company’s Q3 results and Q4 outlook, so we are raising our target valuation for Netflix stock from $ 700 to $ 750.
According to a Cowen survey, Netflix continues to lead the way in video production. Thus, about 28% of surveyed respondents said that Netflix provides the best video content, and the company’s platform is significantly ahead of streaming and linear services of competitors. Netflix is a pioneer in video streaming and we expect to see further growth in the company’s subscriber base, both in the US and in emerging international markets. Among the potential drivers of growth for Netflix shares are the expected strong 4Q results, which may pleasantly surprise market participants. We also expect to hear management’s forecast for 2022, which may contain optimistic forecasts for the growth of paid subscribers, as well as plans for further geographic expansion and growth in business margins.
Netflix is a streaming video provider with more than 207 million paid members globally. The company operates in three segments: Domestic streaming, international streaming and Domestic DVD. Domestic and International streaming segments derive revenues from monthly subscription services consisting solely of streaming content. The Domestic DVD segment derives revenues from monthly subscription services consisting solely of DVD-by-mail.