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Netflix Earnings: Watching Subscriber Numbers and Content Costs

Netflix
AP
Netflix

When Netflix reports after the closing bell, the big question is whether it can keep up its dizzying run? The stock's up some 130 percent in the past 12 months on consistently surprising subscriber growth.

Now there are two numbers in the spotlight — subscribers and content costs.

This quarter analysts expect Netflix to add about 3.7 million subscribers, giving it more subscribers than any other subscription entertainment business in the US — a spot currently held by Comcast, with 22.8 million subscribers. Expect the stock to rise or fall depending on whether Netflix beats or falls short of expectations. And we can expect plenty of questions on the earnings call later this afternoon about growth projections — can Netflix hit 30 million subscribers by the end of the year? The other issue at hand for subscriber growth is international expansion. How soon, and where will Netflix expand overseas?

The other looming question is its rising content costs.

The company has made a number of high-profile deals with the likes of Lionsgate for 'Mad Men' and is even dipping its toe into exclusive content with a deal to exclusively distribute a new show from Kevin Spacey and Media Rights Capital. Can Netflix justify these costs? Is the company interested in competing against the likes of HBO for exclusive content?

I'll be reporting on the company's earnings right after the bell — analysts are looking for revenue of $704 million, up 43 percent from the year ago quarter, and EPS of $1.08, up 83 percent from a year ago. I'll be sitting down with CEO Reed Hastings for an exclusive interview later tonight, which you'll find tomorrow morning on CNBC and CNBC.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.