Netflix Trounces Wall Street Estimates in Q4, Stock Surges

Service, which has been ramping up original content, reported a 2.3 million subscriber gain the last three months of the year

Netflix is still Wall Street’s darling.

The company topped estimates on Wednesday, releasing a robust fourth-quarter earnings report that showed stronger than expected growth in subscribers, revenue and profits.

Netflix’s revenue hit $1.18 billion for the three month period ending in December, a 24 percent jump from the $945.2 million the home-entertainment giant reported in the same period a year ago.

Earnings trounced projections, hitting 79 cents a share, up from 13 cents a share in the same period a year ago. Net income topped out at $48.4 million, up from $8 million in the year-ago period.

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The results sent Netflix’s stock up roughly 15 percent to $384 in after-hours trading.

The company also revealed that domestic subscribers to its streaming service increased by  2.3 million, topping its forecasts.

Netflix had been expected to report profits of 65 cents a share and $1.16 billion in sales, according to FactSet.

Netflix has been making an aggressive push into original content in recent years, offering up critical hits such as the prison drama “Orange Is the New Black”and the political thriller “House of Cards” and signing deals with the likes of Disney that give them exclusive rights to the company’s movies.

On the horizon are new series from the creator of “Damages” and shows based on Marvel characters such as Daredevil.

Analysts have cited the popularity of those programs with helping the company grow its subscriber base. Netflix projected that it would continue to add customers, growing its rolls by 2.25 million in the next fiscal quarter.

Netflix’s leaders said in a note to shareholders that it was benefiting by consumer gravitation towards digital video.

“Our domestic growth is very strong, much of which should be attributed to the tailwind of Internet video growth in general,” Neflix CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells wrote. “Hulu had 3 CEOs in 2013, and yet grew paid subscribers an impressive 65%. We think YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes video and BBC iPlayer are also growing fast.”