Amazon surprises with strong Q1 and surging net income

Faith Merino · April 24, 2014 · Short URL:

Revenue beat estimates while net income climbed 32%

Good news, everybody! Amazon had an in-line quarter with higher-than-expected revenue! Whatever that means.

That’s right, it’s time for another quarterly earnings report from our favorite company-that-seems-to-be-completely-unaffected-by-quarterly-earnings-reports. Taking a break from a string of disappointing quarters (which mean argle bargle to Amazon), the company surprised with a strong Q1 and revenue that came in slightly above analyst estimates.

Amazon generated $19.74 billion in the first quarter of 2014, which is up 23% from Q1 2013, when it posted $16.07 billion in revenue. That beats Wall Street’s expectations of $19.43 billion for the quarter.

Net income came in at $108 million, or 23 cents a share, which is in line with analysts’ estimates. That’s an increase from the $82 million, or 18 cents a share, that the company took home in Q1 2013. Now Amazon will turn around and reinvest all of that money back into the company, which is like the opposite of a snake eating its own tail. The snake just gets bigger, even though it doesn't have a damn tail...(And I think I'm done with metaphors for the day. Good night, folks!)

That said, operating income was down a full 19% to $146 million, compared to $181 million in the first quarter of 2013.

“We get our energy from inventing on behalf of customers, and 2014 is off to a kinetic start,” said CEO Jeff Bezos, in a statement. “Our device team launched Fire TV, offering great content, including our recently announced exclusive deal with HBO, and innovative features like unified voice search, which we’re delighted is being adopted by so many new partners, including Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Crackle and Showtime Anytime. The team is working hard to keep Fire TV in stock.”

Earlier this month, Amazon debuted its new streaming set-top box, Fire TV. But it’s crazy late to the party, so what Amazon is missing in the whole first-mover department, it makes up for in speed and power. The device has a quad-core processor, 2 GB of RAM and a dedicated GPU. It also comes with 1080p HD video and Dolby Digital surround sound. Additionally, Amazon included a feature called ASAP, which predicts what TV shows and movies you’ll want to watch based on your viewing habits and buffers them for playback before you hit play.

Par for the course with any new Amazon hardware debut, the company is keeping mum on the number of units sold. Bezos’s comment about “working hard to keep Fire TV in stock” is all we get.

Another big highlight for the quarter: Amazon Prime has become the first streaming video-on-demand service to license HBO content. Prime subscribers can now stream The Sopranos, The Wire, and even early seasons of True Blood and Treme at no extra cost.

Interestingly, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield notes that what this ultimately means is that HBO doesn’t see Amazon as a competitive media brand. It does, however, see Netflix as a competitor, which is why the company went with Amazon even though Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has been openly itching to get streaming HBO content for years.

Amazon shares were up 3.87% at the close to $337.15.


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