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Netflix shares hit record after adding more subscribers than expected


(Reuters) — Netflix Inc added more subscribers than expected around the world in the third quarter and projected growth in line with Wall Street forecasts, saying it had a head start on rivals as internet television explodes globally.

Shares of the world’s leading online video streaming service touched a record high on Monday and rose a further 1.2 percent after hours to $205.07. They are up about 64 percent this year.

For the third quarter, Netflix added 5.3 million subscribers in all its markets, compared with Wall Street’s target of 4.5 million, according to FactSet. Netflix forecast 6.3 million additions for the current quarter, just above analysts’ average estimate of 6.25 million, which would bring its global customer base to nearly 115.6 million.

The company known for original TV shows such as “House of Cards” is spending heavily to produce and acquire content as it races to dominate streaming television in international markets, which now account for the majority of its subscriber growth.

In its quarterly letter to shareholders, Netflix said it would boost its content budget to between $7 billion and $8 billion in 2018.

“As we move into 2018, we aim to achieve steady improvement in international profitability and a growing operating margin as our success in many large markets helps fund investments throughout Asia and the rest of the world,” the letter said.

Investors have been bullish on Netflix’s ability to keep signing up customers around the world despite new rivals. Netflix recently traded at 101 times expected earnings for the next 12 months, versus Amazon.com Inc at 144 times earnings and Time Warner Inc at 16 times earnings, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The company faces increasing competition from streaming services such as Amazon.com’s Prime Video, plus moves by traditional media companies. Walt Disney Co decided to yank its first-run movies from Netflix in the United States starting in 2019, and to launch its own online offering.

Netflix, in its investor letter, said Disney’s decision underlined the need to keep building its slate of exclusive original content. “We have a good head start but our job is to improve Netflix as rapidly as possible,” the company said.

But Hastings said on a webcast it was “extremely unlikely” that Netflix would bid on The Weinstein Company if the opportunity arose. The film production company is in talks to sell the bulk of its assets to Colony Capital following the firing of co-founder Harvey Weinstein.

Netflix distributes some Weinstein Company movies and TV shows on its streaming service but the business is not material, Netflix Chief Creative Officer Ted Sarandos said on the webcast.

Netflix’s 5.3 million additional subscribers in the third quarter included 4.45 million in international markets and 850,000 in the United States. Wall Street had expected 4.5 million overall, with 3.69 million overseas and 810,000 in the United States, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose about 30 percent to $2.99 billion in the third quarter.

Net income rose to $130 million, or 29 cents per share, in the latest quarter from $52 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier.

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick

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