Netflix shares soar as outlook blows past forecasts

CNBC with Reuters
Netflix reports Q3 earnings

Netflix shares jumped more than 10 percent after the company said it gained more subscribers than expected at home and abroad, helped by original series like"Orange is the New Black," and predicted additional growth this quarter.

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Netflix, the biggest gainer in the S&P 500 in 2013, reported its net income more than quadrupled to $31.8 million, or 52 cents a share, in the third quarter, from $7.7 million, or 13 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Revenue increased 22 percent to $1.11 billion from $905 million a year ago.

Analysts had expected the movie-streaming service to report earnings of 49 cents a share on $1.1 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

The company, which has invested heavily in original content such as political satire "House of Cards" to draw in subscribers, said it had 31.1 million U.S. streaming users in the third quarter. It expects to end the year with 32.7 million to 33.5 million users, accelerating that momentum.

"That keeps the view alive that this company has a larger subscriber base and has pricing leverage in its corner to extract more value," said Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Tony Wible, who rates Netflix a "buy."

During the quarter, Netflix released critically acclaimed prison drama "Orange is the New Black," part of its investment in exclusive original programming to keep and attract customers to its $8-a-month movie and TV streaming service.

Its original series slate attracted buzz during the quarter, with 14 Emmy nominations and three wins for shows including "House of Cards."

The company said it will double investments in original programming in 2014, when it will air second seasons of both "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black."

Wall Street also singled out the company's strong growth abroad. It added 1.4 million customers in international markets, bringing its reach in foreign territories to 9.2 million.

For the fourth quarter, Netflix expects earnings between 47 cents and 73 cents a share vs. the 46 cents a share analysts currently expect.

"I think you can continue to be bullish," Mark Mahaney, managing director in the Internet sector at RBC Capital Markets, said on CNBC's "Fast Money." He cited four potential catalysts for the stock: Signing cable distribution deals, having higher-priced offerings that could boost margins, showing international profitability and delivering another original content hit.

"They've got two on their hands — 'House of Cards' and 'Orange Is the New Black,'" Mahaney said. If they do it again next year,they'll really prove that they have HBO-like content capabilities."

Disclosure: Mark Mahaney is long NFLX.

— Reuters contributed to this article.