Netflix gave a weak forecast last night that unnerved investors just as Walt Disney and others prepare to escalate Hollywood's streaming video wars.

However the company's quarterly results beat Wall Street targets.

Netflix predicted it would pick up 5 million new streaming subscribers from April to June. That was below the 5.48 million consensus of industry analysts surveyed by FactSet. 

Netflix added a record number of paid streaming customers in the first quarter, reaching a total of 148.86 million. 

The just-ended first quarter included the debut of original dramas "Sex Education" and "Russian Doll," and the company raised prices in the US, Mexico and Brazil. 

In a letter to shareholders, Netflix said it saw "some modest short-term churn effect," or dropping of its service, in response to the price increases.

From January to March, Netflix said it added 7.86 million paid subscribers internationally, compared with the average analyst estimate of 7.14 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. 

The company said it signed up 1.74 million paid subscribers in the US in the quarter, above the average analyst estimate of about 1.57 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. 

Netflix is spending billions to attract new customers while Disney and Apple build streaming rivals and Amazon.com makes gains with audiences.

Disney is viewed as one of Netflix's strongest rivals thanks to a broad portfolio of franchises popular with children - from Mickey Mouse to Marvel and Star Wars - and a brand trusted by parents. 

Last week, Disney priced its service at $7 per month, just over half the $13 price for Netflix's most US popular plan. The Disney+ service will launch in November. 

"We don't anticipate that these new entrants will materially affect our growth because the transition from linear to on-demand entertainment is so massive and because of the different nature of our content offerings," Netflix said. 

Disney is leading a shift among traditional media companies that had been selling programming to Netflix for years. 

Now many have decided to keep their content for their own services. 

AT&T's Warner Media and Comcast Corp plan to move into the streaming market. 

Netflix spent $7.5 billion on TV shows and movies for 2018 and executives have said that amount will grow in 2019. 

The aggressive spending has led to a tripling of the company's debt in two years, to $10.36 billion in 2018, from $3.36 billion in 2016. 

For the first quarter, Netflix said its net income rose to $344.1m, or 76 cents per share, from $290.1m, or 64 cents per share, a year earlier. 

Analysts on average were expecting 57 cents per share. 

Total revenue rose to $4.52 billion from $3.70 billion. Analysts on average had expected revenue of $4.50 billion.