Netflix just announced its fourth-quarter financial results, with the company beating analyst expectations. For the last three months, Netflix reported earnings of 79 cents per share on revenues of $1.175 billion. Earnings were well above analyst expectations of 65 cents a share, while revenues were slightly above the $1.16 billion Wall Street forecast for the quarter. During the year-ago quarter, Netflix earned 13 cents a share on $945 million in revenue.
But the most-watched number every quarter is Netflix’s domestic subscriber growth. On that front, the company added 2.3 million domestic subscribers in the quarter, bringing the total to 33.4 million. Netflix’s own forecast had between 1.6 million and 2.4 million domestic subscribers, or between 32.7 million and 33.5 million for the year.
Internationally, Netflix added 1.74 million subscribers, ending the year at 10.93 million members. International growth was slightly down from 1.84 million a year prior, but that quarter was when Netflix launched in four Nordic markets.
While growth was slower internationally, the loss contribution overseas declined significantly, from $105 million a year ago to $57 million this quarter. Netflix also announced plans to significantly expand its footprint in Europe later this year, but didn’t say where that expansion would happen.
The fourth quarter is frequently one of Netflix’s strongest every year, with growth driven in part by new subscribers coming on board thanks to new devices that they receive during the holidays. The holidays are also a pretty good time for streaming video, as people have a lot of spare time and a dearth of great programming on traditional TV.
While much of Netflix’s user growth over the past year has been attributed to quality original programming — including the addition of new shows House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, as well as the revival of cult favorite Arrested Development — the company has been working to improve the customer experience as well.
In November, the company launched a new, universal user interface across a large number of connected devices, including the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Roku 3, as well as newer Smart TVs and recent Blu-ray players. That experience was designed to improve the way users browsed, discovered, and searched for content by providing large, visual guide to movies and TV series available on the service.
Earlier in the year, it launched individual user profiles to provide a more personalized, differentiated experience for households with shared accounts.
Netflix hopes to continue its momentum into the new year, as the first quarter will bring along more original programming. The second season of House of Cards debuts February 14, as well as new seasons of Derek, Hemlock Grove, Orange is the New Black, Lilyhammer, and The Killing.