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Netflix set to open at record high on subscriber growth

Oct 17 (Reuters) - Shares in Netflix Inc were set to open at a record high on Tuesday after the video streaming company added more subscribers than expected around the world in the third quarter.

The company's shares were up 1.3 percent at $205.30 in premarket trading, spurred by a series of price target raises by brokerages.

Netflix added 5.3 million streaming subscribers in the third quarter compared with expectations of 4.5 million, according to FactSet.

It forecast 6.3 million additions for the current quarter, just above analysts' average estimate of 6.25 million.

With the current quarter's additions, Netflix's global customer base would be nearly 115.6 million.

"Netflix is the dominant subscription leader perhaps 8x more subs than the closest competitor, and this is a scale game," RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney wrote in a note.

He maintained "outperform" rating and raised the price target on the stock to $250 from $210. At that price, Netflix's market value would be well over $100 billion.

At least eight other brokerages also raised their price targets on the stock.

Netflix has been spending heavily to produce and acquire content as it races to dominate streaming television and beat competition from traditional media and other streaming players such as Hulu and Amazon.com Inc's Prime Video.

Netflix's second-half content slate is led by second seasons of both "Stranger Things" and "The Crown", the second Netflix original David Fincher series entitled "Mindhunter" and the Will Smith original film "Bright".

Earlier this month, the company announced the first rises in monthly fees in two years to fund its spending on original content.

"More members combined with more revenues following the recent price increases deepen the moat around this business," Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne wrote in client note.

He raised the price target on the stock to $235 from $225 and maintained "overweight" rating.

Out of 42 analysts covering the stock, 26 have a "buy" or higher rating, 14 on "hold" and two have a "sell" or lower.

Netflix shares had risen about 64 percent this year. (Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)