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Netflix Blows Past Expectations; Shares Jump 15%

CNBC.com with wires
Wednesday, 25 Jan 2012 | 4:41 PM ET

Netflix'sfourth-quarter earnings and revenue outpaced Wall Street's expectations as the video-rental website reversed subscriber losses to sign up more than 600,000 new U.S. customers in the period.

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AP
Netflix

Shares of Netflix soared 15 percent in after-hours trading. (Click here for the latest after-hours quote.)

Earnings excluding items fell to 73 cents per share from 87 cents a share in the year-earlier period.

Revenue shot up 47 percent to $876 million from $596 million a year ago.

Analysts had expected the company to report earnings excluding items of 55 cents per share on $858 million in revenue.

Netflix said it regained U.S. customers in the fourth quarter as the video-subscription began to recover from a revolt against a big price increase.

Figures released Wednesday show the company ended December with 24.4 million subscribers in the U.S. That was 600,000 more than at the end of September.

The subscriber uptick is a positive sign for Netflix after several months of upheaval that battered its stock. Netflix lost 800,000 subscribers last summer after raising its U.S. prices by as much as 60 percent.

Netflix, which revolutionized the home-video industry, had outraged customers in 2011 with a surprise price hike and a botched attempt to split off its DVD-mail service.

In its previous earnings release, Netflix had lowered its outlook and reported that it had lost more customers during the quarter than it had been expecting. The company also warned that a costly expansion into Britain and Ireland would push it into the red in the first quarter.

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