Netflix is aiming for $15 billion in revenue in 2018, having reported $11.69 billion in 2017. On recent trends, the forecast seems achievable.
Reed Hastings, the co-founder and chief executive of Netflix, was speaking to reporters in Hollywood, where the online video service is effectively becoming part of the studio production system. He made it clear that Netflix has no plans to move into live television, news or sport, or to introduce advertising.
Netflix has not previously issued full-year revenue forecasts but the projection is in line with recent trends.
Netflix ended 2017 with 110.64 million paid subscribers in total, of which 52.81 million were in the United States. The total was up 21.55 million on the previous year. The company is forecasting an increase of 7.85 million in the first quarter of 2018.
Total revenues for 2017 were $11.69 billion, compared to $8.83 billion the previous year and $6.78 billion the year before that. That represents a rise of 32% and 30% respectively, so $15 billion seems achievable.
In its end of year earnings announcement, Netflix forecast that it planned to spend up to $8 billion on programming and $1.3 billion on technology and development in 2018.
$8 billion is around the same as Disney, Timer Warner or Fox spent on non-sports programming in 2017, but behind NBCU, which spent around $10 billion.
The continuing rise of the Netflix share price, up nearly 10% in a week, has benefited its chief executive, who became $400 million richer on paper, and is now worth and estimated $3.5 billion, according to Forbes.
Netflix is worth 65% more than it was at the beginning of the year. It has a market capitalisation of $143 billion. Disney is worth $157 billion, while Comcast is valued at $172 billion.