Netflix shares surge on positive subscriber news

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Netflix added 1.1 million subscribers in its domestic market, above the 674,000 additions forecast.

Netflix ended September with 137 million worldwide subscribers, including 58.5 million in the U.S.

Netflix on Tuesday reported strong third-quarter earnings, sending the company's stock up 14 percent in after-hours trading. In July, Netflix said it is "starting to turn the corner" in many Asian countries. By the end of the year, Netflix expects to expand that base to 146.5 million.

It's safe to say Morgan Stanley didn't see Netflix Inc.'s subscriber surge coming. Netflix released its first Indian original series, "Sacred Games", in the quarter, as well as new Japanese shows. "It's not going to be overnight where we're going to get to those higher numbers".

Analysts had cut their price targets for Netflix shares ahead of its earnings report, citing a combination of the strength of the dollar, rising expenses and interest rates. "That's a really good number for a market that's this mature". Sales grew 34 per cent to US$4 billion, meeting Wall Street forecasts. Nor does the company release viewership figures for programs, contending that subscriber growth demonstrates the popularity of its entertainment slate.

It isn't that analysts are positive about every aspect of the company's future, of course. While the company reports a net profit, it spends more than it takes in and borrows frequently to finance its programming budget.

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Netflix plans to spend about US$8 billion on programming this year. In the world of paid streaming services, Netflix has a huge lead over Amazon's 88.7 million and Hulu's 55 million according to eMarketer.

Analysts from US financial group Keybanc downgraded their rating on Netflix to "sector weight" from "overweight", questioning whether the company was capable of improving investment returns and margins in years to come.

Is Netflix anxious about competition yet?

At the same time it faces competition from the likes of Amazon and Disney.

Netflix anticipates that it will be able to meet this new European criteria when it arrives but as Hastings notes, the company would "prefer to focus" on making a great service that includes local content rather than being forced to create a specific amount of shows, documentaries or movies just to fill a quota.

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