Netflix Beats Per-Share Earnings Expectations

Reed Hastings

UPDATED: The company adds 630,000 U.S. streaming subscribers, ending the second quarter with 29.81 million -- fewer than some analysts expected.

Netflix earned 49 cents per share in the most recent quarter, up from 11 cents in the same frame a year ago. Analysts expected the streaming-media company to earn 40 cents per share.

Revenue during the second quarter was $1.07 billion, up from $889 million a year ago; analysts expected $1.07 billion. The company added 630,000 streaming subscribers in the U.S. and finished the quarter with 29.81 million. Analysts expected Netflix would end the quarter with about 30 million streaming subs in the U.S.

Netflix announced its quarterly results after the closing bell on Wall Street.

Netflix, up more than 180 percent this year, boasts the best-performing stock among those that make up the S&P 500 index. The stock was off 6 percent in the after-hours session Monday, though, as analysts viewed the subscriber additions as being a bit light. They weren't particularly impressed with revenue figures, either.

PHOTOS: From 'Arrested Development' to 'House of Cards,' Exclusive Portraits of Netflix's Stars

Internationally, Netflix added 610,000 streaming subs to end the quarter with 7.8 million.

In an unusual move, the company shunned a traditional conference call with analysts in favor of a video interview where CEO Reed Hastings and chief content officer Ted Sarandos fielded questions from CNBC's Julia Boorstin and BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield.

Without revealing numbers, Sarandos told Boorstin that Netflix's original TV shows are getting "TV-sized audiences."

Boorstin challenged Sarandos on Netflix's deal with DreamWorks Animation, given a soft opening for its new movie, Turbo. "Do you have an out?" she asked. Sarandos said he's "very comfortable" with the licensing deal with DWA, especially given that its "rate card" is based on box-office performance.

On Monday, rival analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities, a notorious bear when it comes to Netflix stock, appeared on Bloomberg TV and disparaged Greenfield's appearance with Hastings.

"They picked someone among the Netflix lovers, and he's supposed to appear impartial, and I think it's going to be hard for him to be," Pachter said. "I think they want to turn it from a news event into a media event. I have a problem with one of my competitors accepting the invitation. It makes him appear less than impartial."

Netflix has been riding a nice wave of publicity lately, centered on Emmy nominations for original shows House of Cards and Hemlock Grove as well as the fourth season of Arrested Development.

In a letter to shareholders released Monday, Hastings said that Arrested Development, a show that had a fan base before Netflix resurrected it, generated "a small but noticeable bump in membership when we released it." He added: "Other great shows don't have that noticeable effect in their first season because they are less established."

Hastings also addressed various competitors in multiple places in his lengthy letter to shareholders.

"Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video continue to license some exclusive content and develop their own originals," he wrote. "We have House of Cards and many others; Hulu has Battleground; and Amazon Prime Instant Video will have Alpha House; all are quite good and different. All three services are becoming more distinct from one another, like HBO, Showtime and Starz are distinct from one another on linear TV."

Hastings noted that Netflix has ordered second seasons of all of its first-season original shows, and added: "We'd be delighted to produce a fifth season of Arrested Development, if possible, given fan reaction."