Shares of Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) recently pulled back after the company said its member growth was lower than expected. But this shouldn't trick investors into thinking Netflix is having a problem growing its member base. Indeed, the company is adding more members on a trailing-12-month basis than ever before -- and it's doing this while rolling out price increases.
Thanks to the 26 million streaming members Netflix has added over the past 12 months, Netflix's global member count has swelled to an impressive 130 million members. Of these members, 124 million are paid memberships -- up from 99 million at this time last year. Strong growth rates in Netflix's members recently suggest there's plenty of upside left for this key metric.
Here's a breakdown of Netflix's members as of the end of the company's most recent quarter, as well as what to expect from member growth in the coming years.
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The U.S. is undoubtedly Netflix's most important market. Though international streaming members surpassed U.S. streaming members for the first time last year, the U.S. market's contribution profit more than doubles the contribution profit from all of Netflix's international market's combined. In Netflix's second quarter of 2018, for instance, the company's U.S. contribution profit was $740 million. In the same period, Netflix's international contribution profit was $298 million. And a similar trend is expected to persist in Q3, with management guiding for U.S. and international contribution profits for the period of $730 million and $290 million, respectively.
With Netflix's U.S. market accounting for such a significant portion of the company's contribution profit, it makes sense that investors are always watching to see whether or not the market is showing signs of saturation. Fortunately, Netflix's U.S. members are still growing nicely. Sure, second-quarter U.S. member additions of 670,000 were down from 1.07 million additions in the year-ago quarter, but Netflix's 2.63 million new U.S. members in the first six months of 2018 were actually higher than the 2.07 million members the company added in the first six months of 2017.
Overall, Netflix boasts about 58 million streaming members in the U.S., of which 56 million are paid memberships.
The U.S. may be Netflix's biggest contributor to the company's bottom line, but it's Netflix's international segment that's driving the bulk of the streaming-TV company's growth. Not only did Netflix's international streaming members climb an incredible 40% year over year in Q2, but its international segment swung from a contribution loss of $13 million in the year-ago quarter to a contribution profit of $298 million in the second quarter of 2018. And Netflix expects more strong growth in the key metric in Q3, with management guiding for an international contribution profit of $290 million -- up from $62 million in the third quarter of 2017.
In total, Netflix has about 72 million streaming members internationally. About 68 million of those members are paying users.
Despite increasing competition in the streaming TV space recently, Netflix continues to grow its members at strong rates. And Netflix's recent strong growth suggests more of the same is on the horizon throughout 2018 and beyond.
Sure, Netflix's member growth will undoubtedly slow over time. But there's still plenty of runway left. In the company's next quarter alone, management expects to add another five million members -- in line with its member additions in the third quarter of 2017. In addition, Netflix said in its long-term update on its business earlier this year that it believes members in the U.S. could rise as high as 90 million over the long haul. And while it's more difficult to forecast the upside for Netflix's international market, the 21 million members Netflix added internationally over the last 12 months suggest there's huge room for growth abroad.
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