The seemingly unstoppable juggernaut that is Netflix has continued its rampage according to first quarter numbers released today. In the shareholders report (PDF link) released today, the company is showing that it added 3.3 million subscribers in the quarter, bringing it to a total of 22.8 million. This was an increase of 63 percent year over year, and up from the 19.5 million the company had in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company is predicting between 24 to 24.8 million subscribers by the end of the next quarter, but that seems a bit conservative considering its growth as of late.
On the revenue front, the company was up 43 percent year-over-year, rising from $494 million to $706 million. Revenue for the second quarter is projected to be between $762 to $778 million.
The overwhelmingly clear message of this report is that the company is focusing nearly all of its attention on the Watch Instantly service from here on out. Despite high profile accusations such as Mad Men and all of the various Star Trek series under their belt, the company said that it expects DVD shipments to decline slightly year-over-year, but that its “spending on streaming content to increase substantially.”
Despite the rosy outlook for the company, they are also aware that competition may be nipping at their heels.
Over the past 12 months, both Hulu Plus and free video on Amazon Prime have launched. We also think Dish Networks is likely to launch a substantial subscription streaming effort under the Blockbuster brand. Our competitive strategy relative to other streaming services is simply to grow as fast as we can, so we can afford more content, more marketing, and more R&D than our competitors.
Considering the large chunks of money Netflix has been dropping as of late, it would seem that this policy is already well in place. And it is going to be difficult for any other service to catch up to them at this point. Considering that the company has integrated its streaming system into just about of every piece of technology imaginable, it’s not just going to be a matter of acquiring the content, but also making sure that people can easily access it once they pay for it. The days of just watching it on your laptop are definitely gone when you can so easily stream it to your 55-inch television.
No matter what happens in the rest of 2011, Netflix is off to a great start, now it will just be a matter of seeing if it can maintain the momentum.
What do you think? Could anyone catch Netflix at this point, or is it already too late?