Analyst: Netflix Will Top 17 Million International Subscribers This Year

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The VOD giant added about 3 million paying subscribers outside the United States this quarter, estimates Digital TV Research analyst Simon Murray

Netflix will have more than 17 million paying subscribers outside the United States by the end of 2014, according to an estimate by U.K. group Digital TV Research.

Analyst Simon Murray says that since September, when Netflix launched across six new European countries, the VOD giant has added nearly 3 million new subscribers to its previous international tally of 14.4 million. Murray said subscriber figures for Netflix in Latin America were higher than was previously forecast, while numbers in the U.K. were substantially lower.

"We underestimated Latin America last time due to the historic payment problems that Netflix encountered (low credit card ownership; little electronic banking; low broadband penetration etc.),” wrote Murray in his report. “Netflix has introduced simpler payment methods (such as prepaid cards) that has boosted take-up. However, economic slowdown is expected in the region, especially in Argentina and Venezuela, which could hit Netflix take-up."

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The 17 million subscriber figure does not include U.S. subscribers to Netflix's service who are based outside the country.

Netflix stock took a beating in September after the company published subscriber numbers that were far short of expectations. Netflix added 980,000 domestic net streaming customers in the third quarter of this year, while analysts had forecast at least 1.3 million, and the 3.02 million new subscribers worldwide fell short of the 3.69 million many had expected. But Netflix did beat the street when it came to earnings, posting earnings of 96 cents per share in the third quarter, higher than the 92 cents that analysts had predicted.

Netflix is facing stronger competition in the U.S. thanks to HBO, which is set to launch a competing online streaming service.

Several competing online services have also launched in Canada and other international markets where Netflix operates.

Netflix is continuing its march worldwide, next targeting Australia and New Zealand with a launch planned for March 2015.

Twitter: @sroxborough

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