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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings speaks at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month. (GeekWire photo)
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings speaks at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month. (GeekWire photo)

Netflix beat its own projections for subscriber growth in the fourth quarter as the streaming giant saw its stock rise more than 5 percent in after-hours trading today following a strong earnings report.


The company added 1.56 million U.S. subscribers and 4.04 million international subscribers last quarter after projecting 1.65 million new U.S. customers and 3.5 million new international customers. The 5.59 million total new streaming subscribers worldwide last quarter beat the company’s projection of 5.15 million.

Netflix also beat analyst expectations after posting earnings per share of 10 cents — Wall Street predicted profit of 2 cents per share — however, it did just miss expectations with $1.67 billion in revenue (predictions came in at $1.83 billion).

Netflix, which now has 75 million members worldwide, expects to add 6.1 million subscribers in Q1 of 2016. In a letter to investors, the company also noted that it plans to produce 600 hours of original content — up from 450 hours in 2015.

Last year, Netflix customers streamed 42.5 billion hours of content compared to 29 billion hours in 2014.

“The growth of Netflix has created some anxiety among TV networks and calls to be fearful,” the company wrote in the investor letter today. “Or, at the other extreme, an NBC executive recently said Internet TV is overblown and that linear TV is ‘TV like God intended.’ Our investors are not as sure of God’s intentions for TV, and instead think that Internet TV is a fundamentally better entertainment experience that will gain share for many years. The challenge for traditional media companies, most of whom see the future pretty clearly, is to use the revenue from Netflix and other SVOD services to fund both great content and their own evolution into Internet TV networks. Seeso, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, CanalPlay, HBO Now, and CBS All Access are the beginnings of these efforts.”

At the big Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced that the streaming service will be available in 130 countries — still not in China, though — adding to the 60 countries where Netflix already operated. The move comes as Netflix faces new competition from Amazon Prime Video and other streaming video services, though Amazon’s global footprint is far smaller.

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