Netflix shares on track for worst day in five months

The Netflix sign on is shown on an iPad in Encinitas California April 19,2013. REUTERS  Mike Blake  File

In the first quarter the streaming service passed $2.5 billion in revenues and added another 5 million members.

While its subscriber growth slowed in Q1 2017, Netflix ended the period with a total of 98.7 million streaming memberships, consisting of 50.8 million in the US and 47.9 million internationally.

"It wasn't a strong quarter for Netflix in terms of content", said eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna.

Netflix has released its earnings for the year with the company stating that it hit 98.75 million memberships at the end of 2016.

"The disclosure that Netflix is going to pass the 100mn subscriber count this weekend suggests it is trending ahead of schedule towards its sub guidance for 2Q17", wrote Mark May of Citi Research in a research note. The first quarter, lighter on new releases, was the company's most profitable ever and the first time worldwide operations made money. The surge in subscribers of US-based Netflix comes after it invested heavily in overseas markets.

Netflix added 1.42 million domestic customers in the first quarter, below a 1.5 million estimate and guidance.

The Los Gatos, California company now has a market value of about $63 billion.

Other cable channels also are offering internet-only options as more viewers, especially younger people, eschew traditional TV packages and subscribe to streaming services instead.

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Netflix's stellar stock performance has so far hinged on its ability to continually add new subscribers.

The inclination has presented Netflix with more rivalry in the contest for home entertainment budgets.

"Everybody watches TV and almost everybody has the internet, so I don't see anything that's going to stop Netflix from getting to most people in the United States and then eventually hopefully most people around the world", Hastings said.

"The model works from a consumer perspective because it is such a good value", Pachter said.

By comparison, Google says about 1 billion hours of video per day are watched on its mostly free YouTube service.

As it is, Netflix expects to spend about $6 billion on programming this year.

In Q1, the company reported USA streaming revenues of $1.5 billion and $1.05 billion coming from the worldwide market.

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