Netflix UK “greatly exceeding expectations”

Reed Hastings

Netflix’s recent launch in the UK “greatly exceeded expectations”, the group said as it reported fourth-quarter profits that beat analyst estimates and boosted its shares by almost 16 per cent.

Reed Hastings, chief executive, said the company was back on track, with total Netflix subscribers to its streaming and DVD services rising to 24.4 million, a 25 per cent increase over the prior year and a rise of 600,000 over the previous quarter.

Revenues rose to $876 million, compared with $596 million in the same quarter the previous year. Net income slipped from $47.1 million to $40.7 million.

Netflix launched its video streaming service this month in the UK, where it is competing head-on with Amazon’s Lovefilm. “The UK has greatly exceeded expectations,” Hastings told the FT. “We’re very excited by the initial response and we are continuing to improve the service.”

Hastings was bullish about Netflix’s prospects against Amazon and Hulu Plus, Hulu’s paid subscription service. “Both Amazon and Hulu Plus’s content is a fraction of our content, and we believe their respective total viewing hours are each less than 10 per cent of ours,” he told shareholders.

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