Netflix has reported its number of subscribers to have breached the 100 million mark worldwide. The news sent shares of the leading on-demand television service soaring.
Netflix shares jumped more than 10 percent after the release of earnings figures showing the company had successfully added 5.2 million subscribers in the last quarter, raising the total to 103.95 million. Profits were up 61 percent to $66 million (58 million euros), while revenue increased 32 percent to $2.78 billion from the same quarter last year. This is not the first time the company exceeded expectations.
Most of the subscriber growth reportedly originated outside the US; Netflix ended the quarter with slightly more than half of subscriptions coming from world territories.
"We underestimated the popularity of our strong slate of content which led to higher-than-expected acquisition across all major territories," Netflix said in a statement released along with the earnings figures.
"The shift from linear TV to on-demand viewing is so big and there is so much leisure time, many internet TV services will be successful."
Global expansion - at a cost
The subscriber growth has vindicated Netflix's decision to expand its business model into original programming five years ago, with some critical success: 27 different Netflix programs garnered a total of 91 Emmy nominations last week.
While Netflix keeps bringing new ideas to the screen, it also has also renewed several successful series. Two of its longest running shows - "House of Cards" and "Orange Is The New Black" - recently launched their most recent seasons after several years of success.
But the company's growth comes at a price: Netflix is locked into contracts requiring the streaming business to pay more than $13 billion for programming over the next three years. And, amid increasing competition from the likes of Amazon and Hulu, Netflix finds itself having to continue to invest in more original programming while also trying to appeal to the unique interests of viewers worldwide, spanning markets such as Japan, India and Indonesia.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stressed that "we see a huge opportunity for us in Asia in coming years."
ss/bk (AFP, AP)