Netflix plans to complete global expansion in next two years

The war on net neutrality (along with that battle against HBO) are lowly bullet points as Netflix eyes global dominance.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Netflix routinely uses its quarterly earnings report as a soapbox for voicing rhetoric high up on the streaming service's important issues playlist, notably broadband concerns and net neutrality.

But the Los Gatos, Calif.-headquartered company reminded shareholders and analysts on Tuesday that it has much more ambitious plans beyond domestic borders -- plans that are certainly helped with much better-than-expected fourth quarter results.

The online video giant reported a net income of $83 million, or $1.38 per share (statement). Non-GAAP earnings were $1.35 per share on a revenue of $1.484 billion.

Wall Street was looking for earnings of just 45 cents per share on top of $1.48 billion in revenue.

Over the course of 2014, Netflix added 13.0 million new members, compared to 11.1 million in 2013, bringing its global user base total to 57.4 million.

During the fourth quarter alone, Netflix garnered 4.33 million new members, up from 4.07 million in the previous year period. Analysts were expecting closer to 3.88 million new subscribers.

Netflix said it plans to have 61.4 million subscribers by the end of 2015.

Aside from new content being deployed in the United States and Europe shortly, Netflix is gearing up for a debut in Australia and New Zealand by the end of the first quarter.

All in all, Netflix executives noted in the fourth quarter report that the company plans to grow access for on-demand video empire from roughly 50 countries now to 200 over the next two years.

Like many other tech brands, one market in particular appears to be particularly complicated -- if not daunting -- for deployment:

For most countries we have a good idea of the best approach for Netflix to take. For China, we are still exploring options --all of them modest. We'll learn a great deal if we can successfully operate a small service in China centered on our original and other globally-licensed content. That is our preference, for the next few years, if we are able to acquire the necessary permissions.

In the mean time, Wall Street has increasingly higher expectations next quarter (again, because of the global expansion), calling for at least $1.58 billion in revenue with earnings at 77 cents per share.

As the battle over net neutrality still wages, Netflix remained steadfast in its defense with a brief mention this quarter:

People around the world increasingly view Internet access as a necessary utility --Finland even made fast Internet access a legal right. Recently President Obama echoed the same themes in his call for the FCC to take bold steps to be able to ensure a low-cost high-speed Internet. The support for strong net neutrality continues to grow.
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