Netflix burns cash at a record pace, but investors love it

  • Netflix had record negative free cash flow of $859 million last quarter.
  • The company plans to continue burning lots of cash as it increases spending on original content to compete with other streaming services and traditional TV networks.
  • Investors are rewarding rather than punishing the company for its spending.

Netflix's cash burn just broke a record.

In its third quarter earnings statement on Tuesday, the company reported negative free cash flow of $859 million, the biggest figure in its history. Netflix continues to increase spending on original content as it seeks to compete with other players like Hulu, HBO and planned streaming services like Disney's, scheduled for next year. Netflix will reportedly spend at least $8 billion on content in 2018.

Investors continue to reward rather than punish Netflix for its free-spending ways, banking that spending to build a library of exclusive original content will help it fend off new contenders in streaming video. The company's shares jumped 4.7 percent Wednesday, a day after Netflix's big earnings beat.

Here's a look at Netflix's stock price and cash burn over the last few years.

Disclosure: Comcast, which owns CNBC parent NBCUniversal, is a co-owner of Hulu.

— CNBC's Sara Salinas contributed to this report.