Earnings: Netflix Q4 Profits, Revs Rise, Barely Beating Estimates; Subscriber Costs Shrink A Bit

This story was written by David Kaplan.
Video renter Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) posted higher profit and revenue in Q4, suggesting that perhaps a bad economy can be good for companies that cater to home entertainment. The Los Gatos, CA-based company's Q4 net income was $22.7 million ($0.38 per diluted share) just above FactSet Research's analysts poll (via Marketwatch) which called for $0.36 per share and 44.6 percent higher than Q407's $15.7 million ($0.23 per diluted share). Revenue for the period was $359.6 million, a 19 percent year-over-year gain from $302.4 million.  More to come

Subs: The DVD renter had 9.3 million customers, a 26 percent year-over-year rise from Q407's 7.4 million subs. Most importantly, subscriber costs were lowered to $26.67 compared to $34.58 the year before.

Churn was 4.2 percentthe same as it was in Q308though slightly up over Q407's 4.1 percent.

Free cash flow was $51 million, more than double Q407's $21.1 million. Free cash flow for fiscal 2008 was $94.7 million compared to $45.9 million in fiscal '07. 

Stock buyback: Netflix's board has authorized a stock repurchase program for this year, allowing the company to buy back up to $175 million in stock.

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By David Kaplan
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