Netflix surges ahead of quarterly results report; Disney in focus


At its Investor Day 2019 event last Thursday, Disney presented a detailed overview of the Disney+ streaming service it previewed a year ago and announced that the service will carry a $6.99/month subscription when it launches November 12.

On Tuesday, the streaming video player discussed its prospects as part of its quarterly earnings report, in which it reported revenue of $4.5 billion, a 22 percent increase from the same quarter past year, and added 9.6 million subscribers to hit 148.9 million users worldwide.

Netflix predicted it would add just 5 million new customers in the current quarter, well short of Wall Street forecasts for 6.09 million - a slowdown the company blamed in part on its pricier offerings.

Netflix's performance may help ease any worries related to a recent price hike that raised the cost of its most popular plan to $13 a month, a $2 increase.

The company insisted it's not anxious about competition from Disney Plus, Apple and other entrants into the streaming business.

Netflix's stock has risen more than 30 per cent year to date despite expectations of a conservative second quarter. Overall earnings were $4.52 billion, slightly ahead of analyst estimates of $4.5 billion.

Netflix also shed some light on the audience figures for Umbrella Academy, one of its highest profile original releases during the quarter.

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Netflix addressed head-on competition from new players like Apple and Disney saying on Tuesday that it is "excited to compete". Disney dropped a ton of information about the service on yesterday's investors call. Last week, Disney priced its service at US$7 a month, just more than half the US$13 price for Netflix's most USA popular plan.

John Meyer, analyst at the investment firm Transpire Ventures, said Netflix still has the upper hand in the market.

"We should do something to find a price tier that is lower than existing lowest-price tier, " he said.

Richard Greenfield at BTIG Research noted that Disney's venture may be hurt by long theatrical "window" that keeps films out of streaming for months, and from longstanding deals giving rivals some of its content. Back in January the word in the Switch rumour mill was that the new console would have an upgraded 1080p OLED touchscreen display (the original Switch only has a 720p LCD one), however no other specs were forthcoming, something that hasn't changed.

- Big spending on shows - Disney will invest heavily in the new streaming service, which is not expected to become profitable until 2024, chief financial officer Christine McCarthy told investors.

Martin said that in polling, United States customers say they plan to use only two or three streaming services and that as a result, any growth in Disney+ will significantly weaken Netflix.