Netflix touches 20 mn subs, profit surges

MUMBAI: Netflix Inc., the mail-order and online movie-rental service, reported a fourth-quarter profit that topped Wall Street forecasts on Wednesday.

The Los Gatos, California-based company said it added 500,000 subscribers during the quarter, giving it a total of 20 million, and looks forward to end the first quarter with 21.9 million to 22.8 million. 
This makes Netflix No. 2 video subscription company in the US, behind only cable giant Comcast Corp. If the current trends continued, it should surpass Comcast by mid-2011.

Netflix also said it earned $47.1 million, or 87 cents a share, in the fourth quarter, up from $30.9 million, or 56 cents a share, a year earlier. The revenue rose 34 per cent, to $596 million from $445 million.   
In a letter to shareholders chief executive Reed Hastings said, "We would say that our huge subscriber growth, fueled by the excitement of watching instantly, impressed even us."

The company‘s positive results would only fuel its growing unpopularity in the entertainment industry. Executives have questioned whether they are being compensated fairly for the use of their content on its Internet streaming service, which is increasingly seen as a competitor to cable as televisions connect to the Internet.

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