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Netflix Q4 2009 Profit Up

Netflix, Inc. announced financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2009

According to the statement, Netflix posted a fourth quarter net income of $30.9 million ($0.56/share) compared to $22.7 million ($0.38/share) for the same time in 2008 and, excluding special items, earned $0.59/share.

Netflix ended the fourth quarter with roughly 12.3 million total subscribers up from 11.1 million at the end of the third quarter.

“Blu-ray is expanding nicely for us, and now over 10% of our subscribers are Blu-ray enabled,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

Netflix trades on the NASDAQ under the symbol NFLX.

For more information visit: www.netflix.com


Unedited press release follows:

Netflix Announces Q4 2009 Financial Results

Subscribers – 12.3 million

Revenue – $444.5 million

GAAP Net Income – $30.9 million

GAAP EPS – $0.56 per diluted share

LOS GATOS, Calif., Jan. 27 — Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) today reported results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2009.

“Adding more than one million net new subscribers in the fourth quarter and nearly three million over the full year highlights the growing appeal of the Netflix service as we further expand access to and adoption of streaming movies and TV episodes over the Internet,” said Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and chief executive officer. “In 2010, we expect to extend our operating momentum as we grow the business both rapidly and profitably.”

Earnings Call Format

Netflix is changing the format of the company’s fourth quarter earnings conference call. The call will consist solely of Q&A. In conjunction with the press release, the company has posted a written version of management’s commentary to its Web site at http://ir.netflix.com. The conference call will be webcast today at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time / 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time. If the format change is well received, future earnings calls will follow the same format. Please see conference call details below.

Fourth-Quarter and Fiscal-Year 2009 Financial Highlights

Subscribers. Netflix ended the fourth quarter of 2009 with approximately 12,268,000 total subscribers, representing 31 percent year-over-year growth from 9,390,000 total subscribers at the end of the fourth quarter of 2008 and 10 percent sequential growth from 11,109,000 subscribers at the end of the third quarter of 2009.

Net subscriber change in the quarter was an increase of 1,159,000 compared to an increase of 718,000 for the same period of 2008 and an increase of 510,000 for the third quarter of 2009.

Gross subscriber additions for the quarter totaled 2,803,000, representing 34 percent year-over-year growth from 2,085,000 gross subscriber additions in the fourth quarter of 2008 and 29 percent quarter-over-quarter growth from 2,180,000 gross subscriber additions in the third quarter of 2009.

Of the 12,268,000 total subscribers at quarter end, 97 percent, or 11,892,000, were paid subscribers. The other 3 percent, or 376,000, were free subscribers. Paid subscribers represented 98 percent of total subscribers at the end of the fourth quarter of 2008 and at the end of the third quarter of 2009.

Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $444.5 million, representing 24 percent year-over-year growth from $359.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2008, and a 5 percent sequential increase from $423.1 million for the third quarter of 2009. Revenue for fiscal 2009 was $1.67 billion, up 22 percent from $1.365 billion for fiscal 2008.

Gross margin(1) for the fourth quarter of 2009 was 38.0 percent compared to 35.2 percent for the fourth quarter of 2008 and 34.9 percent for the third quarter of 2009. Gross margin for fiscal 2009 was 35.4 percent compared to 33.3 percent for fiscal 2008.

GAAP net income for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $30.9 million, or $0.56 per diluted share compared to GAAP net income of $22.7 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2008 and GAAP net income of $30.1 million, or $0.52 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2009. GAAP net income grew 36 percent on a year-over-year basis and GAAP EPS grew 47 percent on a year-over-year basis.

GAAP net income for fiscal 2009 was $115.9 million, or $1.98 per diluted share compared to GAAP net income of $83.0 million, or $1.32 per diluted share, for fiscal 2008. GAAP net income grew 40 percent on a year-over-year basis and GAAP EPS grew 50 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Non-GAAP net income was $32.7 million, or $0.59 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to non-GAAP net income of $24.6 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2008 and non-GAAP net income of $32.1 million, or $0.55 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2009. Non-GAAP net income grew 33 percent on a year-over-year basis and non-GAAP EPS grew 44 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Non-GAAP net income was $123.5 million, or $2.11 per diluted share, for fiscal 2009 compared to non-GAAP net income of $90.7 million, or $1.44 per diluted share, for fiscal 2008. Non-GAAP net income grew 36 percent on a year-over-year basis and non-GAAP EPS grew 47 percent on a year-over-year basis.

Non-GAAP net income equals net income on a GAAP basis before stock-based compensation expense, net of taxes.

Stock-based compensation was $3.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2009, compared to $3.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2008 and for the third quarter of 2009. Stock-based compensation for fiscal 2009 was $12.6 million compared to $12.3 million for fiscal 2008. Stock-based compensation is presented in the same lines of the Consolidated Statements of Operations as cash compensation paid to the same individuals.

Subscriber acquisition cost(2) for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $25.23 per gross subscriber addition compared to $26.67 for the same period of 2008 and $26.86 for the third quarter of 2009. Subscriber acquisition cost for fiscal 2009 was $25.48 per gross subscriber addition compared to $29.12 for fiscal 2008.

Churn(3) for the fourth quarter of 2009 was 3.9 percent compared to 4.2 percent for the fourth quarter of 2008 and 4.4 percent for the third quarter of 2009. Churn includes free subscribers as well as paying subscribers who elect not to renew their monthly subscription service during the quarter.

Percentage of subscribers who watched instantly more than 15 minutes of a TV episode or movie in the fourth quarter of 2009 was 48 percent compared to 28 percent for the same period of 2008 and 41 percent for the third quarter of 2009.

Free cash flow(4) for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $30.2 million compared to $51.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2008 and $25.5 million for the third quarter of 2009. Free cash flow for fiscal 2009 was $97.1 million compared to $94.7 million in fiscal 2008.

Cash provided by operating activities for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $105.8 million compared to $92.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2008 and $78.3 million for the third quarter of 2009. Cash provided by operating activities for fiscal 2009 was $325.1 million compared to $284.0 million for fiscal 2008.

Business Outlook

The Company’s performance expectations for the first quarter of 2010 and full-year 2010 are as follows:

First-Quarter 2010

* Ending subscribers of 13.5 million to 13.8 million
* Revenue of $490 million to $496 million
* GAAP net income of $26 million to $32 million
* GAAP EPS of $0.47 to $0.58 per diluted share

Full-Year 2010

* Ending subscribers of 15.5 million to 16.3 million
* Revenue of $2.05 billion to $2.11 billion
* GAAP net income of $125 million to $137 million
* GAAP EPS of $2.28 to $2.50 per diluted share

Earnings Call

The Company has posted a written version of management’s commentary to its Web site at http://ir.netflix.com. Therefore, the conference call, which will be webcast today at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time / 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time, will consist solely of Q&A, with questions submitted via email. Please email your questions to dcrawford@netflix.com. The company will read the questions aloud on the call and respond to as many questions as possible. All media inquiries should be directed to Steve Swasey at (408) 540-3947 or sswasey@netflix.com.

Following completion of the call, a replay of the webcast will be available at http://ir.netflix.com. The telephone replay of the call will be available from approximately 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time on January 27, 2010 through midnight on February 2, 2010. To listen to a replay, call (719) 457-0820, access code 5243602.

Use of Non-GAAP Measures

Management believes that non-GAAP net income is a useful measure of operating performance because it excludes the non-cash impact of stock option accounting. In addition, management believes that free cash flow is a useful measure of liquidity because it excludes the non-operational cash flows from purchases and sales of short-term investments, cash flows from investment in business and cash flows from financing activities. However, these non-GAAP measures should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for or superior to, net income and net cash provided by operating activities, or other financial measures prepared in accordance with GAAP. A reconciliation to the GAAP equivalents of these non-GAAP measures is contained in tabular form on the attached unaudited financial statements.

About Netflix

With more than 12 million members, Netflix, Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) is the world’s largest subscription service streaming movies and TV episodes over the Internet and sending DVDs by mail. For $8.99 a month, Netflix members can instantly watch unlimited TV episodes and movies streamed to their TVs and computers and can receive unlimited DVDs delivered quickly to their homes. With Netflix, there are never any due dates or late fees. Members can select from a growing library of titles that can be watched instantly and a vast array of titles on DVD. Among the large and expanding base of devices that can stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix right to members’ TVs are Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PS3 game consoles and, this spring, Nintendo’s Wii console; Blu-ray disc players from Samsung, LG and Insignia; Internet TVs from LG, Sony and VIZIO; the Roku digital video player and TiVo digital video recorders. For more information, visit http://www.netflix.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including statements regarding our subscriber growth, revenue, GAAP net income and earnings per share for the first quarter of 2010 and the full-year 2010. The forward-looking statements in this release are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ, including, without limitation: our ability to attract new subscribers and retain existing subscribers; our ability to manage our subscriber acquisition cost as well as the cost of content delivered to our subscribers; fluctuations in consumer usage of our service; the continued availability of content on terms and conditions acceptable to us; maintenance and expansion of device platforms for instant streaming; continued weakness in the U.S. economy and its affect on online commerce or the filmed entertainment industry; conditions that effect our delivery through the U.S. Postal Service, including regulatory changes and postal rate increases; changes in the costs of acquiring DVDs or electronic content; consumer spending on DVDs and related products; disruption in service on our website or with our computer systems; competition and widespread consumer adoption of different modes of viewing in-home filmed entertainment. A detailed discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from such forward-looking statements is included in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 25, 2009. We undertake no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this press release.

(1) Gross margin is defined as revenues less cost of subscription and fulfillment expenses divided by revenues.

(2) Subscriber acquisition cost is defined as the total marketing expense, which includes stock-based compensation for marketing personnel, on the Company’s Consolidated Statements of Operations divided by total gross subscriber additions during the quarter.

(3) Churn is a monthly measure defined as customer cancellations in the quarter divided by the sum of beginning subscribers and gross subscriber additions, then divided by three months.

(4) Free cash flow is defined as cash provided by operating activities and investing activities excluding the non-operational cash flows from purchases and sales of short-term investments and cash flows from investment in business.

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