Netflix hits 50m global subscribers

Netflix added 1.69 million subscribers in the second quarter of 2014 to reach a total of 50.05 million worldwide, the company announced in a quarterly earnings call. More than 70% of subscribers, or 36.2 million, are in the US, while the number of international subscribers hit 13.8 million.

The company also reported that revenue increased by 25% to $1.34bn in the second quarter; while net income was $71m, up from $29.5m in the same quarter in 2013.

However Netflix top execs warned the company is expecting losses of $42m in its international operations in the third quarter, due to costs associated with its planned expansion into six European territories. Losses in the second quarter were $15m in its international streaming business, reduced from a first quarter loss of $35m.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the company would become more aggressive in buying out world rights to original content as it expanded internationally, acknowledging that it doesn’t own rights to its hit show House Of Cards in some territories.

“The more we expand, the more you reach that tipping point where the economics make sense to buy out the rest of the world for different projects,” Hastings said.

“When we first got into this, we were taking a big bet on House Of Cards, so it made sense to leave some of those territories on the table. As we get more original and more international, we’ll be picking up some of those territories.”

Netflix also listed it other upcoming original shows, including Marco Polo from The Weinstein Company; Marvel’s Daredevil from Marvel Television; Jose Padilha’s Narcos from Gaumont International Television; and the Wachowskis’ Sense8.

Production is also underway on third seasons of House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black, while the fourth and final season of The Killing will debut soon. Netflix also recently announced its first talk show, hosted by Chelsea Handler.

Hastings joked about making a French House Of Cards, “House Of Versailles”, when asked about commitments to financing local production following Netflix’s entry into France. He added that the company would look seriously at local-language production across European markets, where it made sense. He also pointed to the company’s relationship with France’s Gaumont, which makes the English-language Hemlock Grove for Netflix.

The company’s top execs also used the earnings release to reiterate calls for “net neutrality”, the concept that ISPs should treat all data equally without giving preferential bandwidth to some customers.