By Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)
Online TV network Netflix is finding last year’s successful launch in Australia and New Zealand hard to match as it attempts to aggressively expand globally.
The California-based company on Monday (US time) said its first quarter operating income was $US49 million ($A63.27 million), down from $US97 million the same period a year ago, as it continues to invest in international markets.
Netflix is forecasting fewer international subscriber net additions in the second quarter compared to last year’s second quarter “due to a tough comparison against the Australia-New Zealand launch”.
The Australia-New Zealand growth spike in last year’s second quarter resulted in international net additions almost doubling year-over-year, from 1.12 million to 2.37 million.
Netflix forecasts 2.0 million internationally in the current second quarter.
“Absent the strong performance that we saw last year of the very recently launched Australia-New Zealand market, our guide would have been up,” Netflix chief financial officer David Wells said on a webcast question-and-answer session after the results announcement.
The company said the Australia-New Zealand business was growing steadily in the second quarter, but “it is less than the launch spike last year”.
“Ex-ANZ, international net adds would be forecast up this quarter,” the company said in a letter to shareholders.
Netflix expanded its streaming service to 130 new countries in the first quarter, while established markets were all growing.
“For the second quarter, we expect to add 2.5 million members with 0.5 million in the US and 2.0 million internationally (versus prior year 2.4 million),” Netflix said.
“… Our international forecast for fewer net adds than prior year is due to a tough comparison against the Australia/New Zealand launch.”
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos played down rumours the company would offer live sports, although he did not rule it out.
“There’s no interest in live sports, currently,” he said.