Netflix envelope swells with profit


Netflix reported fourth-quarter financial results Monday and, in doing so, proved there is at least one entertainment company that is thriving in the midst of a recession.

Netflix reported earnings and revenue that bested analyst predictions and the company's own guidance, and future guidance was for growth, whether or not the economy recovers.

The company that made the DVD-by-mail subscription business a phenomenon said net income rose 25% to $22.7 million and revenue was up 19% to $359.6 million.

The company added 718,000 new subscribers to nearly 9.2 million paying subscribers. Netflix predicted it will end the current quarter with as many as 10.3 million subscribers and that it will end the year with as many as 11.3 million.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings called the imminent breaking of the 10 million mark a "hugely symbolic milestone."

Hastings also said the company's streaming VOD business is booming. The more subscribers who watch movies that way, the fewer DVDs must be mailed out, thus saving Netflix money. Netflix provides the service to subscribers at no additional charge.

"Streaming is energizing our growth," Hastings said. (partialdiff)