LIVE: Netflix reports Q1 earnings as streaming TV viewership surges

"Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness" Netflix
  • Netflix will kick off media-earnings season today, when it reports after the bell its financial results for the first quarter of 2020.
  • The streaming giant has been a bright spot in the media sector in recent weeks, as social-distancing practices threaten other media operations like theme parks, theatrical releases, and TV and film productions.
  • Third-party data suggests Netflix's viewership was strong during the first quarter, as people spent more time at home.
  • Netflix's report will show whether the apparent uptick in usage drove subscriber growth.
  • Wall Street estimates that Netflix will blow past its target of 7 million paid subscribers additions for the quarter.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Investors will get their first look on Tuesday into how social distancing has impacted Netflix's streaming business, when the company reports earnings for its first quarter of 2020.

Shares of Netflix are up 35% this year, in part because of the expectation that people are streaming more video as they spend more time at home. Netflix also landed hits like "Tiger King" and "Love Is Blind" during the quarter and released new seasons of fan favorites like "Narcos: Mexico," "Ozark," and "Elite."

Netflix has been a bright spot in the media sector in recent weeks, as social-distancing practices threaten other media operations like theme parks, theatrical releases, and TV and film productions.Advertisement

Third-party data suggests Netflix's usage was strong during the first quarter, especially in the month of March, when many parts of the world went into lockdown:

Netflix's earnings announcement will show whether the apparent lift in usage drove subscriber growth, a key metric investors use to evaluate Netflix's performance.

Wall Street analysts estimate Netflix will blow past its subscriber-growth targets to add 8.47 million paid subscribers globally, about 1.1 million fewer subscribers than the company added a year ago, when it set an internal record.
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Netflix forecasted it would add 7 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2020.

During the executive interview following Netflix's earnings announcement, CEO Reed Hastings is also expected to address how the streaming giant is responding to the global crisis. Chief content officer Ted Sarandos told CNN on March 22 that viewing was rising on Netflix.Advertisement

"We're proud to be part of that," Sarandos said, "which is trying to make that stay-home experience a little more bearable for folks, a little more enjoyable, even, and give some families something to gather around, something for people to talk about, making us feel a little less isolated while we are being physically isolated."

Here are the key numbers to watch from Netflix's Q1 earnings:

  • Q1 revenue: Wall Street estimates $5.74 billion and Netflix forecasts $5.73 billion.
  • Q1 earnings per share (GAAP): Wall Street estimates $1.64 and Netflix forecasts $1.66.
  • Q1 global paid subscriber growth (paid net additions): Wall Street estimates 8.47 million and Netflix forecasts 7 million.
  • Q2 revenue estimate: Wall Street estimates $5.96 billion.
  • Q2 earnings per share (GAAP) estimate: Wall Street estimates $1.55.

For more about how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting media, see our coverage on BI Prime:

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