Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX ) is a company I have been following a long time now. Even after its incredible run over the years I continue to see upside for NFLX stock both in the short and long term.
The company has executed its streaming model with perfection. It's managing to protect its first-mover advantage despite a year of increased competition and salvos from the likes of Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS ), which will remove all of its content from Netflix next year. In the process, NFLX has achieved an Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN )-like reputation that keeps investors focused on subscriber and revenue growth first and profits later.
NFLX Growth Is All About Subscriber Growth
That said, 2017 was an amazing year for NFLX on all metrics.
It added a record 8.33 million subscribers in the fourth quarter and brought in record-shattering net income of $559 million - up 178% year-over-year. Other highlights include:
- Domestic streaming numbers. The biggest surprise was that the company now has 54.75 million subscribers in the United States, up 3.7% quarter-over-quarter and 10.8% from 2017.
- International streaming numbers. The tally was 63.832 million subscribers at the end of 2017, an increase of 10.8% in the quarter and 41.6% year-over-year.
The Future for NFLX
With 75% penetration in U.S. homes, it would be understandable if domestic streaming started to slow in the short term. Margins could still improve, however. Moreover, there are still 3.4 million homes in NFLX's original DVD program. Maybe they'll come over, although that would mean they'd have to ditch their picture-tube televisions.
The real play here is global domination. The company's international segment made money and margins rose to their highest level yet at 8.7%. I expect margins will continue to grow along with the top line over the next several years.
In addition, management has a $6 billion budget for content, which proves they are serious. Even as NFLX has rolled out some clunkers, it still managed to nab eight Oscar nominations and I think there's a chance that "Mudbound" steals the show when the winners are announced - I've watched it and it's an amazing movie.
I wouldn't count out bouts of gyrations as the broad market looks for its footing, but I think this stock has the potential to rally to $320 in 2018.
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.