Netflix Inc.’s biggest cliffhanger isn’t a season-ending episode of “Stranger Things” or “Money Heist,” but something much closer to home: its financial metrics. The streaming service, which reports fiscal fourth-quarter results on Jan. 19, is ditching guidance on net subscriber additions and instead focusing on financial numbers such as revenue, earnings and operating margin as the tumultuous industry emphasizes profitability over subscription growth.
has reversed course in offering forecasts of net subscriber adds — which have proved to be the one factor with the greatest influence on stock movement in recent years — after missing estimates repeatedly in the past year and seeing its shares battered. The company has also pulled an about-face and initiated a lower-cost, ad-supported plan to pump up sales. The changes induced analysts such as Jefferies’ Andrew Uerkwitz to take a sunnier position on a stock that lost half its market value in 2022. He upgraded Netflix shares to buy in a note Thursday on the prospect of advertising-based video on demand, or AVOD, coupled with changes to password sharing, to “drive top line outperformance” in fiscal 2024. Uerkwitz predicts $40.4 billion in 2024 sales, 7% over Wall Street estimates, and adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and …