Netflix passes 50 million members, says price hike hasn't hurt it

Netflix is doing pretty darn well

Netflix

Just in case you had any doubt Netflix did the right thing when it chose to start producing original content, the company has revealed it now has over 50 million subscribers in over 40 countries.

With original shows like Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and others becoming evermore popular, Netflix's growth shows no signs of stopping.

Even the World Cup can't slow Netflix down - during the company's second quarter earnings conference call today, CEO Reed Hastings said viewership showed no drop-off during the competition, even in host country Brazil.

Of its $1.14 billion (about £670m, AU$1.22b) in total revenue during Q2 2014, $307 million (about £179m, AU$327m) came from international streaming. It's no wonder Netflix is "stepping up on the international expansion," according to Hastings.

Price hike? What price hike?

That said, Netflix members have been grumbling since the company announced in April that it's raising subscription prices, but Hastings said during the call the impact on business has been minimal.

"I think we've seen really the impact of the price change go through already," he said. "It's pretty nominal, both in terms of acquisition, which in principle becomes a little bit harder because of the roughly $1 higher prices, or in retention, which, you know, could be a hair better from the grandfathered subs.

"But it's only a dollar difference, so I really think it's background noise, which is what we want it to be," Hastings continued. "We want to think what we do is we're steadily improving the content and the growth and the word of mouth, and that when we make a small change in price and handle it appropriately it really makes no noticeable effect on business."

Going HBO

Meanwhile the company also weighed in on net neutrality, reiterating in its Q2 report that it believes the US Department of Justice and/or the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should block the proposed merger of Time Warner Cable and Comcast.

"I think the most practical thing would be for the FCC to make it a merger condition policy of strong net neutrality, including no-fee interconnect," Hastings said during the call. "So that's our main focus."

Hastings drew attention to the business model used by cable companies like HBO that charge distributors rather than pay them.

"The question comes up, 'Should we over time be charging ISPs for the privilege of carrying our data to their customers?'" Hastings asked. "I don't think so. I think the internet has this different, much more open architecture than classic cable, where we meet in the middle."

He continued, "What you get is this open, vibrant system that the internet has been so famous for. And that's really the tradition that we grew up in, and that we're trying to see carried forward."

Netflix has found itself in the midst of an ISP war with Verizon, with the two trading blame and barbs about who is responsible for slow streaming speeds in the US.